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Photograph of Aimee Mullins for 'Dazed & Confused' magazine, issue 42, 1998; by Nick Knight (b.1958) with art direction by Alexander McQueen (b.1970); London 1998. E.633-1998 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photograph of Aimee Mullins for 'Dazed & Confused' magazine, issue 42, 1998; by Nick Knight (b.1958) with art direction by Alexander McQueen (b.1970); London 1998. E.633-1998 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Name: Dr Kate Bethune

Role: Senior Exhibition Research Assistant, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Research Interests
My 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

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Make/believe (Paperback)

Make/believe (Paperback)

Make/Believe is a full colour, fully illustrated celebration of design for performance by over 150 UK designers between 2011-2015. The title Make/Beli…

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The Museum of Savage Beauty

The Museum of Savage Beauty interactive web feature explores the hidden stories and craftsmanship behind some of the most remarkable objects made by Alexander McQueen and his creative collaborators. Here the designer's iconic pieces are placed alongside historical objects from the V&A’s collections, which represent some of the many design traditions that inspired him.

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