Kate Bethune Biography

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

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

14 March – 2 August 2015. The V&A is delighted to announce that it will present Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in London in spring 2015. The first and largest retrospective of the late designer’s work to be presented in Europe, the exhibition will showcase McQueen’s visionary body of work.

Visit the V&A exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

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A to Z of Wedding Style: V&A Fashion Style Guides (Hardback)

A to Z of Wedding Style: V&A Fashion Style Guides (Hardback)

This entertaining A to Z follows the success of the popular V&A guides to Style and Hollywood Style. Compiled by Kate Bethune, it brings together …

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Event - Savage Beauty: Premium Evening

Wed 06 May 2015–Tue 19 May 2015

SPECIAL EVENT: Experience a special VIP evening to see the acclaimed Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition out of hours and with a much reduced capacity.

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