02 December 2012

Fashion Book: Alexander McQueen Evolution

McQueen was and remains one of my favorite designers. I remember the day he died, everyone at the tents (shows were still at the tents! Lincoln Center say what?) was in a state of shock. I don't even remember what shows I attended, just that I felt perpetually scared -- I guess shell shocked, and grappled for my friends arms in the dark on the way back home. In the taxi cab back from Milk Studios with Tavi and Elizabeth we passed by the McQueen store and were quiet since the first time we got into the cab, and I don't remember anything else. Just that moment. A sense of loss.

Since he's died I've spent hours and days poring over fashion books about him to be disappointed in what they've offered; I've guess it's because I'm always trying to understand him in a profound way so I feel more at peace with the fact such a genius ended his life so early. I don't begrudge him and I'm not angry, I'm just constantly wondering where would he would be now. He was so good -- so, so good. And now he's gone, and we'll never know. And more than anything else, I find that frustrating, and when I read fashion books about him, I'm usually left frustrated because they just relist what he's done, without offering any real insight on his relationships or the mood of the seasons he presented, and it all feels so shallow. That's why I'm so appreciative of the new release by Katherine Gleason.

Gleason sets the mood for each show and provides beautiful description of both the audience reception, the inspiration behind the collection, McQueen's life and relationships at the time and how it all connects. She also doesn't paint him as a perfect person, and takes her time to describe him in all his complexities, and for that he had plenty. I've included some of my favorite parts of the book -- but not all, and not in their entries because duh copyright, but I hope you enjoy them and you buy the book so we can share the experience.

It's a lovely book and collection of his work. You can buy it here or on Amazon for about $25. 


Renee said...

This looks like a beautiful book. I feel the same way about Isabella Blow, while many books and articles have been written about her since she died, I feel like many didn't detail her complex and unique nature as much as I hoped. The book by her husband Detmar was wonderful and intimate, and explained her struggle with depression, although after finishing it, i still yearned for more. She and McQueen were incredible human beings.

Christina said...

Thanks for the tip... I'm investing in a lot of fashion books over the next few months (for an awesome independent study project!) and it's not always easy to tell the great ones apart from the coffee-table trophies.

There's a WONDERFUL article about Fashion and Romanticism on the Los Angeles Review of Books site today that focuses a lot on how McQueen was able to create a thoroughly Modern romantic vision time and time again...



Tatiana and the Deathly Fashion said...

Thanks for sharing :) I've started my collection of fashion history books and etc and Savage Beauty was my FIRST book to start it!


Ana said...

That's exactly what I've been wondering, too - where would McQueen be today? He's been called genius so many time it might have lost a bit of its impact, but he truly was a genius, an innovator, a prodigy.

When I heard of his death, I kept thinking that was an internet rumour and that it'll be rebuked in a matter of hours - hey, I was marveling at his The Girl Who Lived in the Tree collection just a week or two before.


My blog is filled with his creations and I hope I'll get my hand on a book about him one day - I'll keep this one in mind, thank you. He wasn't important just in fashion, he was a true artist in the widest, greatest sense of the word.

(Does the commenting section look a bit weird to anyone else? The names and pictures are showing below the comments, but they kinda overlap and I can't quite figure out who posted what.)

Ester Ramos said...

I admire his work so I have to buy his book!
And you are so stylist girl,I liked your blog. I'm a new follower.

Bethany Rose said...

Thank you for this post Arabelle :) I really can't put into words how much Alexander McQueen means to me and how much his death affected me. He was actually the reason I went to Central Saint Martins, which perhaps sounds a bit silly but it's true! I am so excited to read this book <3

Arabelle said...

christina - that is SUCH good read, thanks for the link!

ana - yeah it's bizarre, i'm getting my friend who does the blog design to fix it in the next iteration.

Rosalinda Tjioe said...

He's one of my favorite designers! Thank you for sharing, I need to get the book! xx


Jo said...

Fabulous post. I was so sad the day he died, I remember calling my mother and we had a little moment for him. That book looks spectacular x

Jo x amomentwithjo

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Anonymous said...

Arabelle I saw this and immediately thought of you: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0141197307/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=braipick-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=0141197307&adid=0G4PWY0E6E8J923G52P6

Anonymous said...

I have a harder time coming to terms with the fact that McQueen's death overshadows the misogyny and racism he employed within his collections/shows. Highland Rape exploited the term rape and had the models looking ravaged and like victims, and he opened his La Poupee show with Debra Shaw in essentially what were shackles, completely ignoring the blatant inferences to slavery. Seriously? Nobody bothers to talk about this? Galliano gets (deservedly) blackballed and McQueen gets labeled genius.

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