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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty review – Insight into the tragic complexity of a creative mind

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Born in Lewisham in 1969, the son of a taxi driver, McQueen is shown to be an artist in the Romantic tradition: wracked by inner conflicts which found expression in clothes that aimed not for simple elegance, but violence, grace and pain. This is the most exciting exhibition that I’ve seen for quite a while.

McQueen left school at 15 and became an apprentice tailor on Savile Row; he was the head designer at Givenchy by the age of 27. The opposing forces in his own nature were the fuel of his art. He said: “I oscillate between happiness and sadness, life and death, good and evil.” There is a sense here of how dangerous creativity can be.

In pictures: First look at Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty

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