MCQUEEN MANIA: “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” which closed August 2, has become the Victoria and Albert Museum’s most successful paid-for exhibition, with 493,043 people seeing it during its 21-week run. For the final two weekends, the V&A kept the exhibition open throughout the night for the first time in its history in order to accommodate what it said was “unprecedented” demand.
Martin Roth, director of the V&A, called the show “one of the most unpredictable, dramatic and spectacular exhibitions we have ever staged,” and said it exceeded expectations.
The exhibition opened at the V&A on March 14, with visitors later attending from 87 countries, mostly from the U.S. and Europe. They also came from countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, East Timor, El Salvador, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Senegal, Suriname and Uzbekistan.
The museum said the online audience totaled 3.5 million, including some 2.95 million visits to the exhibition’s Web pages. The specially commissioned interactive Web feature, “The Museum of Savage Beauty,” which provides an insight into the techniques, inspiration and stories behind the exhibits, has been visited 191,000 times. The accompanying exhibition films, hosted on YouTube, have been viewed 350,000 times.
The museum said it was also able to boost its membership numbers, as joining was one of the few ways of guaranteeing entry to the exhibition. More than 18,000 new members joined during “Savage Beauty’s” run, taking the Friends of the V&A memberships to a total of 86,600. In addition, the accompanying exhibition publication “Alexander McQueen,” edited by Claire Wilcox, has become the V&A’s most successful publication, with more than 80,000 copies sold.
The book has also made it to the U.K.’s top ten non-fiction bestsellers chart. During the course of the exhibition, the V&A Shop sold more than 1,800 meters of Alexander McQueen limited-edition silk scarves and 540,000 postcards.
The first version of “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” was presented at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2010. After “Savage Beauty,” the most popular V&A shows were “Art Deco” (2003); “Wedding Dresses” (2014); “David Bowie” (2013), and “Hollywood Costume” (2012).