Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Info

Fan Club Reviews of best titles on art fashion, artists, history, photography. Check out our top reviews and see what others have to say about the best art and photography books of the year. Check out Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Community Reviews - Find out where to download Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty available in multiple formats:Hardcover Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Author:Andrew Bolton,Sølve Sundsbø Formats:Hardcover Publication Date:May 31, 2011


Arguably the
most influential, imaginative, and provocative designer of his
generation, Alexander McQueen both challenged and expanded fashion
conventions to express ideas about race, class, sexuality, religion, and
the environment.

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style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
examines the full breadth of the designer’s career, from the start
of his fledgling label to the triumphs of his own world-renowned London
house. It features his most iconic and radical designs, revealing how
McQueen adapted and combined the fundamentals of Savile Row tailoring,
the specialized techniques of haute couture, and technological
innovation to achieve his distinctive aesthetic. It also focuses on the
highly sophisticated narrative structures underpinning his collections
and extravagant runway presentations, with their echoes of avant-garde
installation and performance art.

style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"> 

style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Published to coincide with an exhibition at
The Metropolitan Museum of Art organized by The Costume Institute, this
stunning book includes a preface by Andrew Bolton; an introduction by
Susannah Frankel; an interview by Tim Blanks with Sarah Burton, creative
director of the house of Alexander McQueen; illuminating quotes from
the designer himself; provocative and captivating new photography by
renowned photographer Sølve Sundsbø; and a lenticular
cover by Gary James McQueen.

 

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty celebrates the astounding
creativity and originality of a designer who relentlessly questioned
and confronted the requisites of fashion.

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Average Ratings and Reviews
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Ratings and Reviews From Market


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Reviews for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty:

5

Aug 19, 2011

I know basically nothing about fashion. I do know, though, that this book pulls off something kind of extraordinary: convincing me not only that McQueen deserved a posthumous retrospective at the Met (I was never much in doubt on that score) but also that McQueen was as pure and complete an artist as ever lived. He's Miles Davis. He's Van Gogh. McQueen was everything an artist should be: endlessly innovative, aware of the past and concerned for the future, literate, tireless, deeply invested in I know basically nothing about fashion. I do know, though, that this book pulls off something kind of extraordinary: convincing me not only that McQueen deserved a posthumous retrospective at the Met (I was never much in doubt on that score) but also that McQueen was as pure and complete an artist as ever lived. He's Miles Davis. He's Van Gogh. McQueen was everything an artist should be: endlessly innovative, aware of the past and concerned for the future, literate, tireless, deeply invested in the act of making with one's hands. His work is personal, born out of his own passions, sexuality, nationality, tragedy. It transcends fashion. You could give this book to young writers in lieu of Letters to a Young Poet. ...more
5

May 22, 2011

Of course you should see the Savage Beauty installation at the Met before you even glance at this book....It's a multi-sensory experience. Dark. Deep. Industrial. Colourful. Tailored. Baroque. Broken. Bumstered. Political. Poetical. Magical. Feathered. And eerie, windswept sounds come at you around every corner. The mannequins are masked and faceless and in that sense, they are everyone and also...no one. In the book...well...humans become surreal. The installation is an extravaganza of theatre, Of course you should see the Savage Beauty installation at the Met before you even glance at this book....It's a multi-sensory experience. Dark. Deep. Industrial. Colourful. Tailored. Baroque. Broken. Bumstered. Political. Poetical. Magical. Feathered. And eerie, windswept sounds come at you around every corner. The mannequins are masked and faceless and in that sense, they are everyone and also...no one. In the book...well...humans become surreal. The installation is an extravaganza of theatre, avant-garde art, fashion, music, film....drama...
And Alexander McQueen.. well...he was a Pisces...Martian meets Surrealist meets Tailor meets Romantic.
Hey it's late, and these are ramblings about a tragic genius. ...more
5

Dec 12, 2015

I first borrowed this book from the library.

Then I returned it, went on Bookdepository, and bought a copy. And waited in bated anticipation.

A spectacular "coffee-table" book, if you will. If you are more deeply into fashion and happen to love McQueen like I do, this is an incredible glossary and reference book to aid in your own projects. I love the detail and attention paid to this one, and the cover just takes my breath away! It is sturdy, feels raw and expensive, and of a fantastic size to I first borrowed this book from the library.

Then I returned it, went on Bookdepository, and bought a copy. And waited in bated anticipation.

A spectacular "coffee-table" book, if you will. If you are more deeply into fashion and happen to love McQueen like I do, this is an incredible glossary and reference book to aid in your own projects. I love the detail and attention paid to this one, and the cover just takes my breath away! It is sturdy, feels raw and expensive, and of a fantastic size to extricate detail from (though it is also difficult to keep.) Savage Beauty really showcases McQueen at the height of his madness and brilliance, and I think this book balances research and visual appreciation well for both the average consumer and those that dabble in the arts a little more. ...more
5

May 15, 2011

Fashion as Art

Alexander McQueen (17 March 1969 - 11 February 2010) was an icon in the fashion industry. He is currently the subject of a spectacular exhibition of his works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and this book serves as a catalogue for that exhibition. From the lenticular cover by Gary James McQueen ('Lenticular printing is a technology in which a lenticular lens is used to produce images with an illusion of depth, or the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different Fashion as Art

Alexander McQueen (17 March 1969 - 11 February 2010) was an icon in the fashion industry. He is currently the subject of a spectacular exhibition of his works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and this book serves as a catalogue for that exhibition. From the lenticular cover by Gary James McQueen ('Lenticular printing is a technology in which a lenticular lens is used to produce images with an illusion of depth, or the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles') to the layout or deign of the book itself to the extraordinary photography (by Sølve Sundsbø) this book is an art piece by itself.

McQueen drew notice with his fashions that made femininity collide with masculinity, gowns and dresses that created a continuing dichotomy between life and death, lightness and darkness, predator and prey, man and machine. His uses of fabric and elements not usually considered wearable resulted in very bizarre and at the same time hauntingly beautiful creations that, placed on mannequins, could be considered sculptures. And that is how the exhibition and the catalogue are constructed. 'The Romantic Mind' shows soft fashion lines against a concrete backdrop, 'The Romantic Gothic' recalls a term McQueen used for his designs - 'the Edgar Allen Poe of fashion', 'Romantic Nationalism' is a display of the Scottish versus the British mindset transformed into clothing, and the Objects gallery reveals strange objects of many types that explain how he viewed the world.

There is a fine Preface written by Andrew Bolton who curated the exhibition, an Introduction by Susannah Frankel, an interview by Tim Banks with the now almost equally famous Sarah Burton (designer of Kate's Middleton's Royal wedding gown). 'The exhibition, organized by The Costume Institute, celebrates the late Alexander McQueen's extraordinary contributions to fashion. From his Central Saint Martins postgraduate collection of 1992 to his final runway presentation, which took place after his death in February 2010, Mr. McQueen challenged and expanded the understanding of fashion beyond utility to a conceptual expression of culture, politics, and identity. His iconic designs constitute the work of an artist whose medium of expression was fashion. The exhibition features approximately one hundred ensembles and seventy accessories from Mr. McQueen's prolific nineteen-year career. Drawn primarily from the Alexander McQueen Archive in London, with some pieces from the Givenchy Archive in Paris as well as private collections, signature designs including the "bumster" trouser, the kimono jacket, and the three-point "origami" frock coat will be on view. McQueen's fashions often referenced the exaggerated silhouettes of the 1860s, 1880s, 1890s, and 1950s, but his technical ingenuity always imbued his designs with an innovative sensibility that kept him at the vanguard.'

This is a fine tribute to a fashion designer and conceptual artist who died far too young but whose contributions to contemporary fashion and art will live on. This book is likely to become a collector's item, so handsomely designed and present as it is.

Grady Harp ...more
0

Jun 06, 2012

This compilation of quotes and detailed photographs of McQueen's work is breathtaking. My favourite quotes: "There's blood beneath every layer of skin"; "I don't think like the average person on the street. I think quiet perversely sometimes"; "Life to me is a bit of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale"; "In this collection the idea was to turn people's faces on themselves. I wanted to turn it around and make them think, am I actually as good as what I'm looking at?"; "I'm a romantic This compilation of quotes and detailed photographs of McQueen's work is breathtaking. My favourite quotes: "There's blood beneath every layer of skin"; "I don't think like the average person on the street. I think quiet perversely sometimes"; "Life to me is a bit of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale"; "In this collection the idea was to turn people's faces on themselves. I wanted to turn it around and make them think, am I actually as good as what I'm looking at?"; "I'm a romantic schizophrenic";"Women should look like women. A piece of cardboard has no sexuality"; "Remember Sam Taylor-Wood's dying fruit? Things rot... I used flowers because they die"; "Beauty can come from the strangest of places, even the most disgusting of places"; "It's the ugly things I notice more, because other people tend to ignore the ugly things"; "It needs to connect with the earth. Things that are processed and reprocessed lose their substance." ...more
5

Aug 20, 2017

For many, fashion is superficial, fickle and unstable, a way for people to ostentatiously show off their wealth, and sense of style (or lack thereof). But for some, the act of creating fashion is literally the very fabric in how they can fully express themselves beyond just dressing themselves to step out and be within the definition of appearing ‘publicly decent’.

This world lost an incredible creator with the passing of Alexander McQueen in 2010. While his label is still relatively ‘new’ by For many, fashion is superficial, fickle and unstable, a way for people to ostentatiously show off their wealth, and sense of style (or lack thereof). But for some, the act of creating fashion is literally the very fabric in how they can fully express themselves beyond just dressing themselves to step out and be within the definition of appearing ‘publicly decent’.

This world lost an incredible creator with the passing of Alexander McQueen in 2010. While his label is still relatively ‘new’ by fashion standards, as an admirer of his work I don’t think there is anyone that can be called his equal in his ability to bring to life ideas equal parts terrifying, ferocious, but also beautiful and eloquent in its execution.

This book not only contains high quality photographs of some of McQueen’s best creations, but also a preface by Andrew Bolton, an introduction by Susannah Frankel and an interview by Tim Blanks with Sarah Burton, the current creative director of the house of Alexander McQueen. All these people are significant contributors to their respective fields but most importantly here, seem to truly appreciate and understand how amazingly talented, complicated, hardworking and driven McQueen was.

I have long been awed by McQueen’s creations, but it’s only after finishing this publication I realise how little I knew about the brilliance that this man possessed, and what a gift it was that this world had him at all, with all his depictions of savage beauty. ...more
4

Jul 25, 2011

The installation curated by Andrew Bolton at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is absolutely wonderful, astonishing, extraordinary! I would give this book five stars if it contained photographs from the actual installation -- raw concrete stages, aged mirrors, Cabinet of Curiosities room, etc. This 8.5 minute video will give you a good overview of the "experience": http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermc...

I took advantage of the extra hour to see the exhibit at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, and skip the queue The installation curated by Andrew Bolton at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is absolutely wonderful, astonishing, extraordinary! I would give this book five stars if it contained photographs from the actual installation -- raw concrete stages, aged mirrors, Cabinet of Curiosities room, etc. This 8.5 minute video will give you a good overview of the "experience": http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermc...

I took advantage of the extra hour to see the exhibit at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, and skip the queue which was two hours long when I came out at 10:00 a.m.! (That doesn't include the queue to get into the museum..). Six hours after and still processing, I summed up for friends: Burton, Bosch, Braveheart, beads, bones, birds, brutal, beautiful.. Bravo!

I do not follow fashion closely by any stretch of the imagination, but found Alexander McQueen's craftsmanship breathtaking and his complex ideas expressed about Nature, culture, politics, gender, sexuality and beauty really fascinating.

If you are in/near NYC and can catch it before August 7th, I recommend the "Savage Beauty" exhibit highly. In the last week the museum will extend its normal hours for the exhibit to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday the 4th and Friday; Saturday and Sunday it will stay open until MIDNIGHT! Being able to skip the queue and enjoy an extra hour before the museum opened was worth every tax-deductible dollar of membership. Just saying.. ...more
0

Nov 12, 2014


Mcqueen on "Highland Rape":
It's all about the way I'm feeling about my life. Scotland for me is a harsh, cold and bitter place. It was even worse when my great, great grandfather used to live there. I have no respect for what the English did there, they wiped whole families out. The reason I'm patriotic about Scotland is because I think it's been dealt a really hard hand. It's marketed the world over as… fucking haggis, fucking bagpipes. But no one ever puts anything back into it. I hate it when
Mcqueen on "Highland Rape":
It's all about the way I'm feeling about my life. Scotland for me is a harsh, cold and bitter place. It was even worse when my great, great grandfather used to live there. I have no respect for what the English did there, they wiped whole families out. The reason I'm patriotic about Scotland is because I think it's been dealt a really hard hand. It's marketed the world over as… fucking haggis, fucking bagpipes. But no one ever puts anything back into it. I hate it when people romanticize Scotland. There's nothing romantic about it's history.

Mcqueen on "Deliverance" partly inspired by Sidney Pollack movie "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?":
More people can understand the dress if it's tarnished and distressed. If you walked out in the first dress you'd be setting yourself apart form everyone but if you wore the second one people would be able to accept you. I find that untouchable Hollywood glamour alienating. It has no relevance to the way I live my life. Remember where you came from. The second dress is beautiful in a different and more authentic way.

Mcqueen the Romantic Mind:
You've got the know the rules to break them. That's what I'm here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition. ...more
4

Jan 23, 2012

Companion edition to the McQueen exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The majority of the content here is photographs of exhibition pieces, posed on mannequins, shown context-free save for occasional quotes from the designer. There are also some sets of smaller photographs that are live action shots from various runway presentations. It was tempting to jump right in and just look at the pictures, but I'm glad I read the preface and introduction first - they were crucial for background Companion edition to the McQueen exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The majority of the content here is photographs of exhibition pieces, posed on mannequins, shown context-free save for occasional quotes from the designer. There are also some sets of smaller photographs that are live action shots from various runway presentations. It was tempting to jump right in and just look at the pictures, but I'm glad I read the preface and introduction first - they were crucial for background and context on McQueen's life and work. The interview with Sarah Burton at the end is also an interesting read.
I found it to be pretty fascinating stuff - it is kind of amazing the reactions that some of the pictures can evoke.
My only real complaint - selfish - is that I wished there were more dresses photographed. ...more
5

Oct 27, 2018

A visually beautiful tapestry of art that is an expression of Alexander McQueen’s growth from a working class family to creating high couture for the upper echelons of global society. His art is not without darkness, and it was his tormented dichotomy and internal struggle that arguably made for his best work (his romantic gothic work in Autumn/Winter 2010-11 season, or ‘Highland Rape’ in autumn/winter 1995-96 season). What really struck me about his art (moving pieces on humans) was the pain he A visually beautiful tapestry of art that is an expression of Alexander McQueen’s growth from a working class family to creating high couture for the upper echelons of global society. His art is not without darkness, and it was his tormented dichotomy and internal struggle that arguably made for his best work (his romantic gothic work in Autumn/Winter 2010-11 season, or ‘Highland Rape’ in autumn/winter 1995-96 season). What really struck me about his art (moving pieces on humans) was the pain he felt, transformed by sharp relief into beauty.

“I think there has to be an underlying sexuality. There has to be a perverseness to the clothes. There is a hidden agenda in the fragility of romance.” ...more
5

Sep 10, 2011

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Each illustration became my favorite- page after page of the most exquisite fashion, beautifully presented and photographed.

It was a large format book and very heavy! Found the text a little hard to read being such huge pages and such tiny print I kept losing my place (old eyes). Brief but fascinating background on McQeen's life and artistic vision. Really ticked off that I never got to see this exhibition.
5

Oct 02, 2015

I should clarify that I know about as much regarding fashion as I do maintaining a yacht--so nothing. Nevertheless, I had been handed this book by a lovely person to browse through and so I did and thank you Emma. The designs, with a few exceptions (the underwater stuff, a few of the Highland rape designs etc.), are rather magnificent and often phantasmagoric, subverted, unexpected, twisted, dark, imaginative, and innovative. The collection inspired by Edgar Allan Poe I especially enjoyed. As I should clarify that I know about as much regarding fashion as I do maintaining a yacht--so nothing. Nevertheless, I had been handed this book by a lovely person to browse through and so I did and thank you Emma. The designs, with a few exceptions (the underwater stuff, a few of the Highland rape designs etc.), are rather magnificent and often phantasmagoric, subverted, unexpected, twisted, dark, imaginative, and innovative. The collection inspired by Edgar Allan Poe I especially enjoyed. As for the layout of this collection, I suppose it would benefit someone who had gone to see the exhibition as a programme and such a person may be able to gleam more from the collection as they'd know the context unlike me. The book is scattered with quotes, often amusing, sometimes asinine, from McQueen that help the reader understand his motives for the work, along with interviews with not-Alexander McQueen. So, whether you know his work, in which case you already probably own this, or are on the fence or just plain ignorant, leafing through this beautifully put together collection could prove to be a delight with surprising designs, most of which have their own unique haunting quality that makes each page turn an unexpected journey into the mind of a troubled, gifted artist. So, ultimately, there's no real reason why someone should not look through this collection. That is all, I'm done my short review sexy-sleeping time E.L. STALKER. ...more
5

Apr 20, 2019

Any book that inspires me to explore my own creativity, leads me to topics that I would like to know more about and that I am still thinking about after reading the last page, gets a five star rating.

This book is primarily an exhibition catalogue assembled for McQueen's show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art based on his show "Savage Beauty." The book is visually stunning, with full page photographs of individual pieces that permits you to study the exquisite detail of each garment and accessory Any book that inspires me to explore my own creativity, leads me to topics that I would like to know more about and that I am still thinking about after reading the last page, gets a five star rating.

This book is primarily an exhibition catalogue assembled for McQueen's show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art based on his show "Savage Beauty." The book is visually stunning, with full page photographs of individual pieces that permits you to study the exquisite detail of each garment and accessory up close.

McQueen, arguably more of a performance artist than even a fashion designer, used every influence, everything he learned, to form his art in his unique interpretational way. Each idea was personalized using world history and his imagination. His incredible attention to tailoring, learned on Saville Row during an apprenticeship at the tailor shop used by the Monarchy, is staggering. He could cut a pattern from a vision in his head in 3 minutes!!!

After his tailoring apprenticeship, he went on to learn exact military tailoring and then the detailed art of the Japanese kimono.

He was intensely cerebral. If you do not know the back story for each collection, you are missing most of the pleasure of understanding his take on the subject, and judging it solely for its appearance.

McQueen built his collections on the philosophy of art - the sublime. The goal of the sublime is to get the viewer to experience the most profound emotion possible. Shock value is very important. Explains a lot already, doesn't it? He was always true to himself, carrying his vision to its completion - very quickly - because new and fresh ideas were constantly coming into his head. It was hard for him to keep up with all of his ideas.

Some of his ideas that inspired his collections:
Romanticism and Naturalism
Romantic Gothic
Arts and Crafts movement
Man vs Machine
Craft vs Technology
The 19th Century Highland Clearances
Good vs Evil/Heaven vs Hell

I am only briefly touching on SOME of the topics embraced by McQueen that sent me down the rabbit hole. I'm sure if you decide to read this book, these and more will inspire you.




...more
4

Aug 03, 2018

My collections have always been autobiographical, […]. This book is incredibly stunning. Amazed by how intuitively precise McQueen was with his work, I find the stills in this book even more breath-taking. It was a similar awing experience to glimpse one of his designs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue, several days ago. I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress. His designs were all about the curves and angles of the fabric on a woman’s body, My collections have always been autobiographical, […]. This book is incredibly stunning. Amazed by how intuitively precise McQueen was with his work, I find the stills in this book even more breath-taking. It was a similar awing experience to glimpse one of his designs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue, several days ago. I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress. His designs were all about the curves and angles of the fabric on a woman’s body, front frills and flaps, and everything he did was multi-dimensional: vividly 3D with deep stories and intense feelings lurking. In Highland Rape (1995), the story was about England’s rape of Scotland, which was controversial and somewhat disturbing to look at. His works were satirical, purely terrifying and beautiful. They gave me chills and radiated intimidating aura throughout different collections. Also, I suspect more loudness in his collections when he approached the end of his life. We’re not talking about models’ personal feelings here, we’re talking about mine. It’s all about the way I’m feeling about my life. McQueen was a man of absolute certainty in both fashion and way of life. To him, there were no grey areas, so his sense of beauty and ideology were exactly that. ...more
5

Mar 06, 2018

This is not the kind of book I would usually read or buy. I appreciate art, but I have a fairly non-existent interest in fashion. However, a quick flick through this book interested me enough to look it up on Amazon and order a copy. McQueen has left behind some stunning work and this collection illustrates the designer's imagination and creativity wonderfully. So many times I was looking at a piece and I'd gasp at the sheer gorgeousness of a design. I won't deny it, I stroked a few pages and This is not the kind of book I would usually read or buy. I appreciate art, but I have a fairly non-existent interest in fashion. However, a quick flick through this book interested me enough to look it up on Amazon and order a copy. McQueen has left behind some stunning work and this collection illustrates the designer's imagination and creativity wonderfully. So many times I was looking at a piece and I'd gasp at the sheer gorgeousness of a design. I won't deny it, I stroked a few pages and ogled a whole lot more. It was over the cut of a piece, the choices of colour, the attention to detail or just the bloody brilliant inventiveness. Utterly beautiful. ...more
5

Nov 21, 2019

Nothing I have to say will do justice to this book and Lee's career as an artist. I can state though that even though I find it impossible that there might be some people that don't know about McQueen, this is a good starting point to get to know him and his work.
1

Aug 02, 2018

To quote from the introduction of the book itself, "The latest in a long line of male homosexual designers who exploit women while pandering to their own fantasies."

That about sums it up. You would have to view women as objects to want to make them wear many of the things in this book.
5

Jun 04, 2018

Gorgeous book, the photographs are so beautiful. The quotes and features are so insightful and really bring home a whole picture of what McQueen was like. I'm so glad I got this, it's a fantastic coffee table book and something that will doubtless fascinate any guest with the holographic cover.
4

May 25, 2019

I loved the museum exhibit so I wanted to read this. There are some beautiful photos of his work, but not much to read about McQueens life. I wish there were multiple volumes showing more of his work and revealing more of his personal life.
5

Jan 12, 2018

Absolutely love this book, will be keeping it forever.

Although it did leave me wanting to know more about him & his collections... So I've ordered more books.

Definitely recommend. :)
5

Feb 25, 2018

just lovely! wonderful to see his works and to learn how they came to be.
5

Sep 23, 2018

This is a stunning book of astonishingly strange beauty and
the tragic tale of McQueen and several of his friends who met their end by their own creative hands.
5

Feb 12, 2013

Disclaimer: I'm not a total Alexander McQueen fan. In my opinion, some of his clothes are beautiful clothes, some are art, some of his clothes are beautiful clothes and art, some look like costumes, and some are just plain silly, the latter particularly when he gets too literal about some things, like the three taxidermy hawks that perpetually "pull" at the top of one of the VOSS dresses and look ridiculous. I actually saw the Costume Institute at the Met exhibition this book is a companion to Disclaimer: I'm not a total Alexander McQueen fan. In my opinion, some of his clothes are beautiful clothes, some are art, some of his clothes are beautiful clothes and art, some look like costumes, and some are just plain silly, the latter particularly when he gets too literal about some things, like the three taxidermy hawks that perpetually "pull" at the top of one of the VOSS dresses and look ridiculous. I actually saw the Costume Institute at the Met exhibition this book is a companion to and didn't come out with a higher opinion of his work. I waited for four hours in line to get in and swept through the exhibit in about 15 minutes from the crush of people being sent through it. The tiny room for the Cabinet of Curiosities section made me worry a 9-year-old in there might get crushed. The exhibit gave me no time to really look or contemplate the ensembles. My verdict: Somewhat cool but also disappointing. I actually got a much better look at the McQueen outfits in the Bergdorf Goodman windows display series advertising the exhibition. (The ensembles in the Bergdorf windows didn't appear in the exhibit or this book, so they provided an appreciated addition.)

This book changed my opinion by giving me the space and time to appreciate his eye and craftsmanship. Just thinking of how much work it took to match the pattern of the tartan so beautifully at the seams for so many pieces in the Widows of Culloden collection makes me shudder. Ditto for the complex prints used in Plato's Atlantis.

The photographs by Sølve Sundsbø are great, dramatic, and often focus on the details a viewer would want to get a closer look at. The mannequins used are individualized into poses that best show off features of the ensemble they're wearing. That they have a very carefully articulated fingers and toes and are painted an off white and have rub and wear marks in places that show a color more like flesh underneath add to their eeriness. (In some cases the white is worn off the fingertips to show flesh tones and even the fingernails are colored to look like natural human fingernails.)

I appreciated the notes on the materials used in the Exhibition Checklist section, since sometimes when you look at a McQueen ensemble your reaction is "What is that?" and other times it looks like something but is actually something else, for example, the glass medical slides painted red that are part of a VOSS dress and look beautiful.

The Introduction by Susannah Frankel offers important background information but manages to be dry and fawning at once, making it a slog to get through, especially since the reader wants to get to the clothes already. Skim it if you can. The interview with Sarah Burton by Tim Blanks at the end is much more interesting and revealing.

I definitely recommend taking a look. Thank you, Queens library system, for having a copy! ...more
3

Apr 09, 2014

[ This post was originally uploaded to http://www.theageofintimacy.com/alexa... as part of a blogging/social media internship. ]

I have to admit I am somewhat of a fashion novice. Therefore, while I knew who Alexander McQueen was (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), I knew very little about the man himself, apart from the tragic circumstances surrounding his death.

Enter Savage Beauty. Apart from the striking holographic cover, where McQueen’s face morphs into almost a graphic skull, the chosen [ This post was originally uploaded to http://www.theageofintimacy.com/alexa... as part of a blogging/social media internship. ]

I have to admit I am somewhat of a fashion novice. Therefore, while I knew who Alexander McQueen was (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), I knew very little about the man himself, apart from the tragic circumstances surrounding his death.

Enter Savage Beauty. Apart from the striking holographic cover, where McQueen’s face morphs into almost a graphic skull, the chosen designs are something to pore over with envy, and the preface and introduction are written by two close friends of McQueen himself.

The preface, by Andrew Bolton, deals with McQueen’s overarching inspiration – love. Bolton asserts that McQueen used the themes of love and beauty to expose the prejudices and limitations of society, while also using his art as a form of self-expression. McQueen himself stated, “What you see in the work is the person himself. And my heart is in my work.” McQueen also drew heavily on Romanticism in many of his collections, emphasising the concept of the Sublime – the quality of greatness, which can be shown in many forms, such as aesthetic, physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical, spiritual or artistic. McQueen himself saw nature as a vehicle for the Sublime, and thus he included many natural elements in his designs, such as razor clam shells transformed into a shift dress, or a gown covered in flowers that would wilt, and eventually shrivel up and die.

In the introduction, Susannah Frankel focuses more on the man himself, rather than the concepts behind his work. She calls McQueen “magnificently antiestablishment at heart”, and launches into a short history of McQueen’s early life and career. From an apprenticeship at Savile Row, he graduated from a highly regarded course at Central St Martins College of Art & Design. After graduation, he made a name for himself as a critically acclaimed designer but was still receiving government assistance while producing his own lines. His interest in history was influenced by his mother’s ability to trace their genealogy back to the Huguenots, French Protestants of the 16th and 17th century. Unlike most designers, who didn’t execute their own patterns, McQueen could cut a garment in mere minutes, while crouching on the floor of his studio, and was considered a genius by the fashion world at large.

The resulting book is a lush and organic collection that showcases the many facets of McQueen himself – his love of love; strong natural themes; Scottish nationalism; and a desire to break the boundaries of fashion. As someone new to the Alexander McQueen legend, the pictures alone fascinated me, but Bolton’s theory of the inspiration behind McQueen’s designs shed a whole new light on the designer and his wonderful, yet tragic, life. ...more
5

Sep 09, 2015

“Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.”

”I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.”

“There’s blood beneath every layer of skin.”

“You’ve got to know the rules in order to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.”

—Alexander McQueen

First of all, Savage Beauty is aptly named. Alexander McQueen’s work was a miscellany of seeming contradictions: elegant and grotesque, romantic and gritty, “Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.”

”I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.”

“There’s blood beneath every layer of skin.”

“You’ve got to know the rules in order to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.”

—Alexander McQueen

First of all, Savage Beauty is aptly named. Alexander McQueen’s work was a miscellany of seeming contradictions: elegant and grotesque, romantic and gritty, accessible and transcendent. It was hard to look away from, and, at times, hard to look at.

The exhibit itself, which I visited sometime in July 2011, was everything I had hoped it would be: dark, provocative, avant-garde, otherworldly, and gloriously mad.

You don’t have to have an interest in fashion to find this book mesmerizing. When I went to the Savage Beauty exhibit back in 2011, I went with my family- including my dad, who has never expressed any particular interest in fashion (much less the level of interest I possess), and explicitly told me so after we had left. But here’s the thing: he loved it. He thought that Alexander McQueen’s works were radical, enigmatic, and compelling, just as I did.

The book itself consists of full-page, beautiful photographs from the Savage Beauty exhibition, interspersed with quotes from Alexander McQueen. It also includes a lovely preface by Andrew Bolton. As this is a companion piece to the exhibition, the photographs are clearly meant to be the main focus. And they are utterly breathtaking; they really pull the viewer in with their sense of scale and their crisp vibrancy.

Overall, this is an excellent book to accompany an excellent exhibition, and it really showcases the brilliance of the late Alexander McQueen.

-Kelsey Joy ...more

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