Eric Wilson

This Week's Wow: Stars Honor Alexander McQueen in His Iconic Designs

This Week's Wow: Stars Honor Alexander McQueen in His Iconic Designs
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In this weekly feature, InStyle's Fashion News Director Eric Wilson shares his favorite fashion moment of the week, and explains how it could shape styles to come. Look for it on What’s Right Now every Friday.

The Moment: It was close to 11 p.m. on Thursday when actress Noomi Rapace had her first look at the Alexander McQueen exhibition "Savage Beauty" at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

"It's beyond words," said Rapace, who, having just arrived in London after a tour of Paris Fashion Week, missed the gala dinner portion of the evening, where Victoria and David Beckham, Kate Moss, and a cast of British models and designers dined on duck eggs and wild sea bass served by waiters wearing tartan and kilts.

"It takes my breath away," she said. "He went on his own path. He didn’t compromise. His work will always live."

It was a typical British party for the opening of the McQueen exhibition, meaning lots of posh people with incomprehensible titles carrying vodka tonics with orange slices in crystal glasses through most of the museum's galleries. There were a lot of women wearing blunt-cut bangs and melon colored frocks. I was disappointed that I only saw one fascinator among the crowd, a black curlicue that orbited one lady's head, but I did see the milliners Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy.

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Princess Beatrice walked by, flashing some leg in a high-slitted black tuxedo dress, while model Erin O'Connor wore a white dress with a satin tuxedo collar. Salma Hayek wore McQueen's 2008 dress embroidered with black peacocks on front and back, which incidentally became the subject of some controversy after a very similar dress turned up in a wedding scene in a Harry Potter movie. Rapace had on a layered houndstooth jacket and top trimmed with fur, which reminded me of a McQueen collection from 2009, called Horn of Plenty, in which he spoofed the 1940s couture fabrics of Dior, among other things the fashion industry holds dead.

But that was just a coincidence. "I'm dressed in a mishmash of stuff," she said.

There were lots of feathers in the crowd, though, possibly more than in the feathered covered gowns of the exhibition itself. The young performer FKA Twigs (above, right), first of the illustrious English twigs family, wore a rainbow patterned McQueen dress from 2008 that was topped with a stand-up fan of feathers framing her face. She looked as if she had come home to roost in one of McQueen's bird's nest hats.

Speaking of birds, a little one told me some great gossip—though I am sworn not to repeat it, so I'll just drop a few hints, wink, wink—about the American actress Dianna Agron, who had alighted upon a bench in the "Cabinet of Curiosities" gallery, next to a spray-painted dress spinning on a revolving mannequin. As you may have heard, a new stage play is in the works about McQueen with a story about a young girl who is caught breaking into the designer's apartment to steal a dress. Nothing's confirmed, but look for Agron to be spending some time in the London theater come May.

RELATED: Eric Wilson's Front Row Diary: #PFW's Biggest Moment Had Nothing to Do With Clothes

Why It's a Wow: Four years since the Metropolitan Museum of Art staged the first retrospective of McQueen, then just a year after his death at 40 of suicide, the designer remains as iconic as ever. Sarah Burton, McQueen's close collaborator and now the artistic director of the label, was telling everyone how emotional it was to see his work again in the galleries. You could see McQueen on the guests as well. Kate Moss, who performed a five-minute dance routine at 20 minutes past midnight with the Michael Clark Company, for most of the night wore a black lace dress that was nearly entirely see-through, with just a bodysuit covering her essentials (left). Naomi Campbell wore a black feathered skirt with a white fur cape tossed over one shoulder (center).

Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter, had on a pink leopard-print dress from a more recent collection. "Of course, it's McQueen," Massenet said when I signaled her over to say hello. "It's the dress code."

Actually, I recognized it. Carey Mulligan is wearing the same dress in the March issue of InStyle.

Learn more: See our review of "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" (March 14 to Aug. 2) at London's V&A Museum, along with a video tour with senior curator of fashion Claire Wilcox.

RELATED: Go Inside London's "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," a Truly Electrifying Exhibit

 
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