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What is the connection between Alexander McQueen and baked beans?

Isn't it wonderful when you go to an exhibition and the exhibition design is so good that it ramps up the positives of the experience for the viewer?

This was the case when last week I visited the V&A to see their current show which celebrates the genius of Alexander McQueen's couture, and showcases his journey from St Martins MA graduate to the last collection before his untimely death in February 2010.

Alexander McQueen's Couture

Look 33 - Alexander McQueen - Stripped and varnished razor clam shell - Voss, Spring/Summer 2001
Modelled by Erin O'Connor - Photograph © Anthea Simms - Courtesy of Alexander McQueen

The framework in which this stunning show was encased was a wonderful example of exhibition design at its best - inventive, relative and adding real value to the 'Savage Beauty' experience. The content of the show is still very much the 'star' but the exhibition design acts as the spotlight to make the content sing.

It struck me that even though we're talking about a very different scale and context, the same rules apply to any exhibition design. We (at The Shine Studio) have just completed the design for one of our clients showcasing their commercial offer at a specialist exhibition. This is the first time they've taken part in such a show and understandably they are keen to make their investment pay. We have aimed, through our design, to ensure that people understand what they do, their range of services and to use this platform to help them stand out from their competitors.

As with any job where there is a dialogue between agency and client, there has been some discussion and tweaking, but the approved design is ready to be printed any day now and it will be really interesting to see what the industry reaction is to their stand at the exhibition. We'll be helping to put the stand together and dressing it for the final reveal on June 2, so I'll keep you posted in a future blog!

Meanwhile, when discussing the McQueen show at the V&A with a very dear friend - who also did her MA in fashion knit at St Martins! - and who will shortly be back home for a visit from New Zealand, she reminded me that only did she provide knitwear for two Alexander McQueen collections back in the day... but also had baked beans on toast at his flat once. How is that for a claim to fame!!



'Savage Beauty' is showing at London's Victoria & Albert Museum until August 2. At the time of writing, tickets were still available.

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