Friday Late

The original contemporary late night event

An ever-changing, curated programme of live performances, cutting-edge fashion, film, installations, debates, special guests and DJs, with bars, food, and late-night exhibition openings.

Held on the last Friday in every month (except December) from 18.30 - 22.00.

Friday Late is free and drop in. All events are available on a first come, first served basis.

All visitors to Friday Late should use the main entrance on Cromwell Road. Please note that if the event reaches capacity, we will operate on a one-in-one-out basis. If you are a V&A Member, corporate member or hold a ticket to an exhibition please use the Exhibition Road entrance.

Exhibition Tickets are available from the Exhibition Ticket Desks. Tickets are subject to availability, and no booking fee applies. Please note tills close at 20.30.

Friday Late: Spectacle of the Species

Friday 27 March

March’s Friday Late celebrates the V&A’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition. From cocoons in gestation to birds in flight, the natural world was fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s most prominent source of inspiration. Join us for an evening of skins, scales and crystals as we explore the natural elements that were intrinsic to McQueen’s vision.

All events are free and places are designated on a first come, first served basis, unless stated otherwise. Filming and photography will take place at this event.

Please note, if the museum reaches capacity we will allow access on a one-in, one-out basis.


Friday Late: Spectacle of the Species

John Gosling Soundscape

Grand Entrance



Kelly Lee Owens

Grand Entrance


Since contributing her writing and vocal skills to Daniel Avery's 'Drone Logic' - Kelly Lee Owens has been busy crafting a musical world of her own in the form of a debut album, with co-production from Phantasy Sound's Ghost Culture. Owens’ music doesn’t follow contemporary trends or formulas – instead you’ll hear ethereal pop gems mixed with murky drumbeats in the Grand Entrance.

Wild Beasts

Grand Entrance

20.00  – 22.00

Mercury prize nominated Wild Beasts join us for a special Spectacle of the Species Friday Late DJ set. Not to be missed…



Room 48 – Gallery 46b, Cast Courts

19.15, 20.15 & 21.15

This is a collaboration between fashion designer Quoi Alexander and sound artist Lisa Hall.
Quoi Alexander's Autumn/Winter 2015 collection takes its inspiration from ancient art in the caves of central Europe. The collection was designed intuitively using a primitive process of drawing with clay, alongside strict technical limitations such as no sewing and cutting fabric from one piece of material.
Lisa Hall's travelling soundscape of cricket song is sited on the models, and plays as they move through the galleries. This soundscape references a form of sonic body adornment from 1000 years ago, when crickets were concealed in clothing so as to immerse the wearer in their song. Interrupting spaces as they move, they will bring the sound of nature to those they pass.
Makeup by Dominic Skinner and the M.A.C PRO team


Encased Series

Gallery 64b

Like McQueen, artist Rebecca Louise Law takes inspiration from nature by composing sculptural installations using flowers. Law’s work changes and deteriorates as nature takes its course, offering an alternative concept of beauty. This evening, she presents a series of encased creations using foliage and insects in the day lit Medieval and Renaissance galleries.


Trail: McQueen’s V&A

Available for digital download

McQueen used to visit the V&A archives, taking inspiration from the museum’s diverse collections, and incorporating them into his designs.  In 1999 and 2001, McQueen presented his work as part of the V&A’s Fashion In Motion live catwalk series. He said “The collections at the V&A never fail to intrigue and inspire me. The nation is privileged to have access to such a resource…. it’s the sort of place I’d like to be shut in overnight.” Download the trail guide and discover the galleries and objects McQueen was influenced by, including the William Morris room, photographs by August Sander and men’s frockcoats in the fashion gallery.


Obsidian Air: An Edible Bubble Experience

John Madejski Garden

19.30 & 20.45

McQueen once said ‘Fashion is a big bubble, and sometimes I feel like popping it.’ Inspired by his focus on texture and theatricality, food historians AVM Curiosities present London’s first completely edible bubbles. This experience takes a murky liquid, and transforms it into beautiful bubbles that float freely around the garden.
Places are designated on a first come, first served basis, please sign up on the evening.


Images Made of Nightmares and Dreams

Prints & Drawings Study Room

19.00 & 20.30

Join V&A Curator of Photographs Susanna Brown to view highlights from the V&A's Collection. Susanna will discuss McQueen's fascination with the art of photography and natural imagery in particular, showing some rarely exhibited historical and contemporary works that inspired McQueen's designs and catwalk shows. Please meet at the Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre to be taken to the Prints & Drawings Study Room. Places are designated on a first come, first served basis, please sign up on the evening.

Please note coats and bags are not permitted in the Prints & Drawings Study Room. Please leave these items in the cloakroom on the ground floor


McQueen’s Research Library

National Art Library

19.00, 19.30, 20.00, 20.30 & 21.00

Explore the books and magazines that were intrinsic to McQueen’s development as a designer. Books on display include Birds of America by John James Audubon, Tailor’s Pattern Book by Juan de Alcega published in 1589,  Michel Frizot’s The New History of Photography, and the magazine Visionaire. Also on display are some of McQueen’s most spectacular show invitations as well as the blueprint for the collection The Birds, S/S 1995. Places are designated on a first come, first served basis, please sign up on the evening.

Please note coats and bags are not permitted in the Library. Please leave these items in the cloakroom on the ground floor.



John Madejski Garden

From watching kestrels nest near his family home to practising falconry with his muse and patron Isabella Blow, birds always fascinated McQueen. He incorporated bird claws, feathers and the silhouette of birds into many of his collections, including ‘Highland Rape’, A/W 1995 , ‘The Widows of Culloden’, A/W  2006 and ‘The Horn of Plenty’, A/W 2009. He experimented with duck, ostrich, swan and pheasant feathers and created headpieces made entirely of woodcock wings. Come to the garden to observe three falcons at close hand and stroke a Eurasian eagle-owl.


Wild Life Drawing Class

Seminar Room 3, Learning Centre

19.00 & 20.15

Wild Life Drawing is a life-drawing class with a twist. Instead of models, the subjects will be tortoises, monitor lizards and snakes. McQueen’s interest in watching nature documentaries on Discovery Channel and reading National Geographic magazine came out in his collection ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’ in 1997, with his use of crocodile heads and impala horns. Come and draw the animals, learn about conservation and their lives in the wild. All the animals are fully trained and accompanied by experienced handlers. Places are designated on a first come, first served basis, please sign up on the evening.


Warpaint: Alexander McQueen and Make-Up workshops

A series of workshops presented by Fashion Space Gallery will launch their upcoming satellite exhibition Warpaint: Alexander McQueen and Make-Up.


Skin Deep

Art Studio, Learning Centre

18.30 -19.00 – Plant Life

19:15 - 19:45 - Underwater

20:00 - 20:30 - Birds

20:45 - 21:15 - Bones

Join this workshop and learn how the basic techniques of using prosthetics and professional make-up. Devised by students of the BA Hair, Make-up and Prosthetics for Performance course at London College of Fashion, the workshop will follow four distinct themes:  birds, bones, underwater and plant life. Each workshop is inspired by a particular McQueen look based on natural phenomena. You will work in pairs to create your own bespoke look. Please alert workshop leaders if you suffer from any allergies.
Makeup provided by MAC Cosmetics. With thanks to students Charlotte Bull, Alice Jessop, Billie Pingault, Billie Watkins and Denise Redd, Course Leader.


Warpaint Make-Over

Lunchroom, Learning Centre

Let yourself be transformed in this make-over workshop. Recreated on the night by students of the BA Hair and Make-Up for Fashion at the London College of Fashion this is a unique opportunity to model one of McQueen’s iconic catwalk make-up looks. Please alert the make-up artists if you suffer from any allergies.
Makeup provided by MAC Cosmetics. With thanks to the students, Fiona Minors, Programme Director BA Fashion Image, Dele Olo and Mirjana Vasovic.


La Dame Bleue

Gallery 40

Try on (virtually) the make-up look from McQueen’s La Dame Bleue (S/S 2008) catwalk show. Created by digital creative studio Holition using their ‘Face’ technology, this digital tool mimics the way a make-up artist applies make-up to a face. This is one of the looks you will be able to see at the Warpaint: Alexander McQueen and Make-Up exhibition at the Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion, from 30 April.


Quartz Rock crystals

Lunchroom, Learning Centre

Taking inspiration from water, ice and crystals, artist Kees van der Graaf created the quartz rock crystal bodice for Alexander McQueen's collection ‘The Overlook’,A/W 1999. In this show-and-tell workshop, Van der Graaf discusses how the materiality of quartz rock crystals can be used in fashion and jewellery design including their source, colour, shape and form. See crystals from the bodice on display and watch as jewellery designer Vann Kwok creates unique, McQueen inspired pieces. All crystals have been provided by Rockshop Wholesale.


Show and Tell: In conversation with Joseph Bennett

Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre


Emmy award-winning production designer, Joseph Bennett discusses creating some of McQueen’s most iconic catwalk shows, including No. 13 (S/S 1999), The Widows of Culloden (A/W 2006) and Plato’s Atlantis (S/S 2010). Bennett is the production designer of the exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty  at the V&A, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,  shown in 2011. He is joined by The Independent’s fashion editor Alexander Fury who has written an essay on McQueen’s spectacular shows in the exhibition catalogue.

Programme Cover Design

Souvenir programme wrap created by textile designer Gary James McQueen.

Food & Drink

Drinks are available in the Grand Entrance throughout the evening and in the John Madejski Garden (weather permitting).

Food and drinks will be served in the Café until 21.00.

Also On Tonight

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

14 March – 2 August 2015.
In partnership with Swarovski
Supported by American Express
With thanks to MAC
Technology Partner Samsung

Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s-1990s

16 February 2015 – 24 May 2015
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Coming Up

V&A presents Friday Late

Civic Futures

Friday 24 April
What kind of a city are we building today? What are the ideas and values that it embodies? Civic Futures will explore the idea of the metropolis as a collective social organism. This forms part of the programme for All of This Belongs to You, an exhibition examining the intersection of design, democracy and public life

About Friday Late

Friday Late began in 1999, establishing the much-copied format for London cultural centres' evening events. The programme celebrates all aspects of contemporary visual culture and design in society, bringing audiences face-to-face with both leading and emerging artists and designers. By providing a platform through which to test ideas and challenge convention, Friday Late aims to inspire and provoke, whilst encouraging audiences to interact with the Museum’s collections in new ways.


Behind the Scenes at Friday Late 'Sound It Out'

Friday Late ‘Sound It Out’: Boiler Room Reflections

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