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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beautyby Andrew Bolton
"I find beauty in the grotesque, like most artists. I have to force people to look at things."
Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty offers a stunning retrospective of the late designer's career, showcasing garments just as likely to make your skin crawl as they are to make you swoon. True to McQueen's aesthetic, Savage Beauty is at once visually arresting, well-constructed, and unsettling (note: those aren't mannequins), making it a must-have for those already familiar with McQueen's work, and a captivating introduction for the rest.
Synopses & Reviews
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. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty examines the full breadth of the designerand#8217;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.
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 Sand#248;lve Sundsband#248;; 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.
"I never conformed to any sort of fashion ideal. My idea was always to show reality, even though I started at Savile Row and ended up at Givenchy in Paris; to depict the times I live in." and#8212;Alexander McQueen, Harper's Bazaar, September 2008
A lavish exploration of the evocative and complex fashions inspired by Chinese culture.
For centuries, Chinaandrsquo;s export artsandmdash;jade, silks, porcelains, and, more recently, cinemaandmdash;have fueled Western fantasies of an exotic East and served as enduring sources of inspiration for fashion. This stunning publication explores the influence of Chinese aesthetics on designers, including Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent. Drawing upon Chinese decorative arts, cinema, and costumeandmdash;notably imperial court robes, the close-fitting cheongsam, and the unisex Mao suitandmdash;their designs are fantastical pastiches of anachronistic motifs. As in the game of andldquo;telephoneandrdquo;andmdash;which the British call andldquo;Chinese whispersandrdquo;andmdash;the process of cultural translation transforms the source material into ingeniously original fashions that are products solely of the designersandrsquo; imaginations.
In a similar way, contemporary Chinese film directors render fanciful, highly stylized evocations of various epochs in Chinaandrsquo;s historyandmdash;demonstrating that Chinaandrsquo;s imagery is equally seductive to artists in the East and further inspiring todayandrsquo;s designers. Juxtaposing modern fashions and film stills with their forebears in fine and decorative arts and historical dress, Chinese Whispers reveals the rich and ongoing creative dialogue between East and West, past and present.
The Metropolitan Museum of Artand#8217;s annual Costume Institute exhibition is the most spectacular event of its kind. With subjects that both reflect the zeitgeist and contribute to its creation, each exhibiandshy;tionand#8212;from 2005and#8217;s Chanel, to 2011and#8217;s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and 2013and#8217;s Punkand#8212;creates a provocative and engaging narrative attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors. The showand#8217;s opening-night gala, produced in collaboration with Vogue magazine and attended by the likes of Beyoncand#233;, George Clooney, and Hillary Clinton, is regularly referred to as the Party of the Year.
Covering the Costume Instituteand#8217;s history and highlighting exhibitions of the 21st century curated by Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton, this book offers insider access of the first order. Anchored by photoandshy;graphs from the exhibitions themselves in tandem with the Vogue fashion shoots they inspired, it also includes images of exhibited objects and party photos from the galas. Drawn from the extensive Vogue archives, the featured stories showcase the photographs of icons such as Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, and Craig McDean; the vision of legendary Vogue editors like Grace Coddington and Tonne Goodman; and the knowledge and wit of writers such as Hamish Bowles and Jonathan Van Meter.
About the Author
Andrew Bolton is Curatorand#160;at The Costume Institute atand#160;The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Susannah Frankel is fashion editor of Theand#160;Independent newspaper. Tim Blanks is contributing editor of Style.com.
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