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by Andrew Bolton, Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen, the iconic designer whose untimely death in 2010 left the fashion world reeling and fans worldwide clamoring for more, fused immense creativity, audacity, and a hauntingly dark aesthetic sense into powerful, unforgettable imagery. The strange, singular beauty of his clothing was matched by the spectacle of his legendary fashion shows, which demonstrated his outstanding showmanship and consistently pushed the boundaries of runway events. Robert Fairer’s intimate, vibrant full-color photographs of McQueen’s collections, taken backstage and on the catwalk when few photographers were allowed access, offer a unique insight into the life and work of one of the world’s most captivating figures.
This previously unpublished portfolio of stunning, high-energy photographs captures the people and the spirit that made the designer’s flamboyant shows unique. Fairer, Vogue’s backstage fashion photographer for over a decade, was an integral part of the whirl of activity behind the scenes. These images, which capture both the glamor and the grit, represent a new genre of fashion photography and are a treasure-trove of inspiration. This superb book contains an introduction and collections texts by fashion expert Claire Wilcox. Dynamic images of McQueen’s collections–thirty of his total of thirty-six shows are presented chronologically–portray behind-the-scenes moments that reveal stylists, models, hairdressers, makeup artists, and McQueen himself at their most candid and creative.
by Andrew Wilson
When forty-year-old Alexander McQueen committed suicide in February 2010, a shocked world mourned the loss. McQueen had risen from humble beginnings as the son of an East London taxi driver to scale the heights of fame, fortune, and glamour. He designed clothes for the world’s most beautiful women and royalty, most famously the Duchess of Cambridge, who wore a McQueen dress on her wedding day. He created a multimillion-dollar luxury brand that became a favorite with celebrities including Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.
But behind the confident facade and bad-boy image, lay a sensitive soul who struggled to survive in the ruthless world of fashion. As the pressures of work intensified, McQueen became increasingly dependent on the drugs that contributed to his tragic end. Meanwhile, in his private life, his failure to find lasting love in a string of boyfriends only added to his despair. And then there were the dark secrets that haunted his sleep…
A modern-day fairy tale infused with the darkness of a Greek tragedy, Alexander McQueen tells the complete sensational story, and includes never-before-seen photos. Those closest to the designer—his family, friends, and lovers—have spoken for the first time about the man they knew, a fragmented individual, a lost boy who battled to gain entry into a world that ultimately destroyed him.
“There’s blood beneath every layer of skin,” McQueen once said. Andrew Wilson’s biography, filled with groundbreaking material, dispels myths, corrects inaccuracies, and offers new insights into McQueen’s private life and the source of his creative genius.
by Kristin Knox
Packed with breathtaking photographs, this tribute to Alexander
McQueen (1969-2010) celebrates the incredible creations of an iconic, imaginative, and inspirational fashion designer
whose work turned heads and hearts all over the world. He was a major fashion figure, famous throughout the world, especially the US (where he is a celebrity-favourite with clients including Sarah Jessica Parker, Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman) and Japan. McQueen’s dramatic designs, also been worn by celebrities including Bjork, Lady Gaga and Rihanna, met with critical acclaim and earned him the British Designer of the Year award four times. This book is a must-have for fashion lovers everywhere.
Praise for Love Looks Not With the Eyes: Thirteen Years With Lee Alexander McQueen:
The pictures are evocative of the torture, the toughness and, most of all, the tenderness of Mr. McQueen.†? —New York Times
“Deniau’s close connection to McQueen and her appreciation for his formidable talent is like many of the pieces he created: breathtaking.†? —San Francisco Chronicle
“Thekinetic color and black-and-white photographs document the fantastical,shocking spectacle of a McQueen show in action: hairdos trussed up with birdsof prey; hubcaps strapped to foreheads; faces enhanced by extraterrestrialcheek prostheses. The images are sensual, spooky, and whimsical, playing up thedrama of McQueen’s vision; like one of the designer’s fabulous garments, thephotographs transform fashion into high art. The book is both an homage and amemorial; this celebration of McQueen’s vast, unique talent is also a eulogyfor his tragic loss.†? — “Haute couture has a reputation for spectacle, but Anne Deniau’s photographs remind us that it’s also the last bastion of craftsmanship in fashion—or it was, as practiced by designer Alexander McQueen (1969†“2010).†? —Wall Street Journal
“Lush, previously unpublished backstage photographs from many of the late designer’s provocative fashion shows.†?—The Los Angeles Times
“The kinetic color and black-and-white photographs document the fantastical, shocking spectacle of a McQueen show in action: hairdos trussed up with birds of prey; hubcaps strapped to foreheads; faces enhanced by extraterrestrial cheek prostheses. The images are sensual, spooky, and whimsical, playing up the drama of McQueen’s vision; like one of the designer’s fabulous garments, the photographs transform fashion into high art. The book is both an homage and a memorial; this celebration of McQueen’s vast, unique talent is also a eulogy for his tragic loss.†? —Publishers Weekly
“Love Looks Not with the Eyes document[s] the intense work and equally intense emotions that played out behind the scenes of McQueen’s poetic, passionate, and provocative shows. . . . The intimacy is evident in the pictures.†? —Vogue
“The haunting images offer a rarefied glimpse into the designer’s inner world.†? —Harper’s Bazaar
“Deniau, in the process of documenting 26 McQueen presentations, captured images which, too, transcend photography—matching the decadent and grand world created by the hands of McQueen.†? —Time.com
“Haute couture has a reputation for spectacle, but Anne Deniau’s photographs remind us that it’s also the last bastion of craftsmanship in fashion—or it was, as practiced by designer Alexander McQueen (1969†“2010).†? —Wall Street Journal
by Katherine Gleason
From Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims, his 1992 graduate collection, to Plato’s Atlantis, the last show before his death in 2010, Lee Alexander McQueen was as celebrated for the exquisite tailoring, meticulous craftsmanship, and stunning originality of his designs as he was notorious for his theatrical—and often controversial—runway shows. McQueen found inspiration for his avant-garde collections everywhere: his Scottish ancestry, Alfred Hitchcock movies, Yoruba mythology, the destruction of the environment—even the fashion industry itself. Whatever his inspiration, however, McQueen’s concept for his runway show came first and was crucial to the development of the collection. Every show had a narrative and was staged with his characteristic dramatic flair. Highland Rape featured disheveled models smeared with “blood” staggering down the runway in town clothes. In Scanners, two robots sprayed paint on a model trapped on a spinning platform. In Widows of Culloden, a hologram of supermodel Kate Moss held center stage. Other McQueen shows staged models walking through water, drifting snowflakes, rain, and wind tunnels; pole-dancing in garish makeup at a carnival, playing living pieces in a bizarre chess game, and performing with trained dancers in a Depression-era-style marathon. Illustrated throughout with stunning photography and liberally sprinkled with quotations from McQueen and those who knew him best, Alexander McQueen: Evolution is the story of the designer’s thirty-five runway shows and the genius behind them.
Gods and Kings
by Dana Thomas
Their approach to fashion was wildly different—Galliano began as an illustrator, McQueen as a Savile Row tailor. Galliano led the way with his sensual bias-cut gowns and his voluptuous hourglass tailoring, which he presented in romantic storybook-like settings. McQueen, though nearly ten years younger than Galliano, was a brilliant technician and a visionary artist who brought a new reality to fashion, as well as an otherworldly beauty. For his first official collection at the tender age of twenty-three, McQueen did what few in fashion ever achieve: he invented a new silhouette, the Bumster.
They had similar backgrounds: sensitive, shy gay men raised in tough London neighborhoods, their love of fashion nurtured by their doting mothers. Both struggled to get their businesses off the ground, despite early critical success. But by 1997, each had landed a job as creative director for couture houses owned by French tycoon Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH.
Galliano’s and McQueen’s work for Dior and Givenchy and beyond not only influenced fashion; their distinct styles were also reflected across the media landscape. With their help, luxury fashion evolved from a clutch of small, family-owned businesses into a $280 billion-a-year global corporate industry. Executives pushed the designers to meet increasingly rapid deadlines. For both Galliano and McQueen, the pace was unsustainable. In 2010, McQueen took his own life three weeks before his womens’ wear show.
The same week that Galliano was fired, Forbes named Arnault the fourth richest man in the world. Two months later, Kate Middleton wore a McQueen wedding gown, instantly making the house the world’s most famous fashion brand, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened a wildly successful McQueen retrospective, cosponsored by the corporate owners of the McQueen brand. The corporations had won and the artists had lost.
In her groundbreaking work Gods and Kings, acclaimed journalist Dana Thomas tells the true story of McQueen and Galliano. In so doing, she reveals the revolution in high fashion in the last two decades—and the price it demanded of the very ones who saved it.
Alexander McQueen – Working Process
by Susannah Frankel
In 2008 Alexander McQueen commissioned photographer Nick Waplington to document the creation of his Fall 2009 collection–all the way from inception to runway showing. Unfortunately, this Fall/Winter collection was to be the last that McQueen would stage before his untimely death. This show, which he titled The Horn of Plenty, found McQueen revisiting his 15-year archive of work and recycling it into a new collection. In effect, it was his personal survey of his work to date.
The set was composed of broken mirrors and a giant trash heap made up of all the sets from his previous shows; critics have commented that this reflected McQueen’s feelings towards the fashion system and how it pressures designers to be creative geniuses while relegating each collection to the garbage bin of history as soon as it’s sold. Waplington was given unprecedented access to McQueen and his staff, which included the current Creative Director of the brand, Sarah Burton. Every step of the creative process is documented in fascinating detail and readers receive a rare insight into the inner workings of McQueen’s creative process. Most notably, McQueen himself placed the book’s layout, picture by picture, on storyboards. The book was ready for publication when McQueen died, then was put on hold–until now.
This substantial overview, with more than 120 photographs, is published just as McQueen edited it, commemorating the most personal of his collections. It includes an essay by Susannah Frankel, Fashion Editor at Grazia (U.K.).