In its new flagship store on Old Bond Street in London, the Alexander McQueen house invites students to discover an experiential space devoted to the process of creating new designs. It is on the top floor of this radical property, located in the heart of Mayfair, that the brand is hosting a series of exhibitions and conferences dedicated to the ‘behind the scenes’ efforts of the house. Aimed at inspiring students across the globe, especially those of the United Kingdom, the exhibition is designed by Sarah Burton, the creative director of the house of Alexander McQueen, in collaboration with the Chilean architect Smiljan Radic. A celebration and exploration of the brand's inimitable craftsmanship, visitors are invited to pick up the label on each mannequin to discover the composition of that particular dress, while pictures of sketches, background research and previous iterations of each design adorn the walls.

The first exhibition, Unlocking Stories—gave an unprecedented glimpse of the designer’s work. It showcased the inspiration boards, fabric samples, books and photos that went into the making of the Spring/Summer 2019 collection of the house. At the event, one could delve into Sarah Burton’s working methods down to the smallest details, from sketches to embroidery, as well as techniques and technologies used for the exhibition, and more.

In addition to all these treasures, two conversational sessions were organised between the designer and respected fashion journalist Sarah Mower, for an audience that mainly comprised of students. The designer has decided to devote the second exhibition to roses, which are the central inspiration for her Fall-Winter 2019-20 collection, and more particularly to the show’s latest look: a deep red silk taffeta dress that reminds us of a rose in full bloom. The bodice embellished with a loose skirt and petal pleats is sure to turn heads (see photo). This idea of exhibition-conferences is really innovative, and we would love to see it more often.

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.