Kate Bethune Biography
Role: Senior Exhibition Research Assistant, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Research InterestsMy research interests include Alexander McQueen, twentieth-century and contemporary fashion, and British politeness and elite culture in revolutionary and early national Philadelphia, c. 1775-1800 (PhD thesis, University of Cambridge 2010), with a specific focus on sociability and social rituals, consumption and the material culture of the home, and fashionable dress.
A particular interest related to McQueen is the manner in which he consistently challenged conventional concepts of beauty. This is evident in this image of Paralympic athlete Aimee Mullins, which formed part of the ‘Fashion-able’ shoot that McQueen art directed for Dazed and Confused magazine. Mullins subsequently walked for McQueen in his S/S 1999 catwalk show in a pair of prosthetic legs which had been hand-carved from elmwood and evoked the qualities of Baroque carver Grinling Gibbons. The collection, entitled ‘No.13’, engaged with the late nineteenth-century Arts and Crafts movement and the designer’s interest in handcrafted objects.
Selected Research Outputs (Exhibitions)
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (current)
Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s (Assistant Curator)
Books and exhibition catalogues
A-Z of Wedding Style (V&A, 2014)
‘Birds’ in Alexander McQueen (title tbc) ed. Claire Wilcox (V&A, 2015) forthcoming
‘Survey of McQueen’s Catwalk Collections’ in Alexander McQueen (title tbc) ed. Claire Wilcox (V&A, 2015) forthcoming