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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty - Andrew Bolton

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Author: Andrew Bolton, Harold Koda / Edition: First Edition / Hardcover / 240 Pages / Book is published 2011-04-26 by Yale University Press

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      18.08.2012 23:11
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      First of all, I LOVE McQueen. When I started Fashion& Textiles I Upper School we had to do lots of research and I discovered Alexander McQueen, I loved his designs as they were just so crazy but still seemed so wearable (maybe not all of them...) and I loved the extra effort put into the set which always created a different atmosphere to other catwalk shows I have since watched. McQueen is one of the top and most well known designers of the UK and his outfits have been worn by pretty much everyone. He attended Central St Martins and went onto to become head designer at Givenchy and working with Gucci before creating his own McQueen brand.

      Unfortunately McQueen committed suicide in February 2010. I was absolutely gutted and I remember my boyfriend of the time making fun of me for caring so much. His designs still live on and his company has been put into the hands of Sarah Burton who made Kate Middletons famous wedding dress and made Kate Moss and Naomi Cambell dresses for the Olympics Closing Ceremony. The Metropolitan Museum of New York held an exhibition of his work that became the most popular exhibition in the Museums history even though it was only on for three months. I would have love to have gone but it's just too expensive  I think a lot of his work is still on show there though so maybe one day! The exhibition was called 'Savage Beauty' and this book was made to coincide with it.

      I spotted this book in Waterstones in Birmingham a few months back and drilled it into my Dad that I MUST own this book. At £30 though he, understandably he wouldn't let me have it. But when I returned home back to Bournemouth a few days, later a big amazon package arrived and I knew it was this book!

      The book it very large (9 ½ x 13 ½ inches) and quite heavy and comes shrink wrapped to protect and the 'blurb' is on a piece of paper that I keep inside the book. The book is covered in a brown fabric (keep away from fluffy cats!) and the title is embossed in sliver down the spine ending with an MQ logo. The front is a holographic picture stuck onto the front which looks a little cheap the way it is put on but the image itself is so amazing you don't notice it. The image is of McQueen himself in black and white against a black background, when you tilt the book his face melts and transforms into a metallic skull, which is the McQueen brand logo. The skull is silver with gold hues and seems almost liquidized in appearance, the images are both very bold and morph into one another beautifully and I often spend just five minutes just looking at the cover because of this.

      It is quite obvious that most of the money is spent on the appearance of the book but fashion books usually tend to be quite extravagant because of what they are. The book is very thick with ... amount of pages, using very good quality paper that show the images inside off to their best. There is a lot of photographs of McQueens work inside which definitely would have used a lot of ink too. The book overall is amazing quality but the actual contents of the book are just as good.

      The book is 240 pages long. The first 30 pages are statements, forewords and introductions from different people that introduce the book and talk of McQueen. The next 200 pages are split into 7 different parts named 'The Romantic Mind,' 'Romantic Gothic,' 'Romantic Nationalism,' 'Romantic Exoticism,' 'Romantic Primitivism,' 'Romantic Naturalism' and 'Cabinet of Curiosities' which explores McQueens work from start to finish and shows off his most iconic designs and ideas. These pages are large photographs of McQueens work being shown in full or up close in detail with quotes from McQueen on the opposite side that show what he was thinking or general comments about the designs which give you a different perspective on something you may have thought was ugly and shows the meaning of them. 'Cabinet of Curiosities' shows the strangest of designs, (things that you can't wear really) and double page spreads of different accessories from different catwalk shows like hats or shoes.

      The book ends with an interview with Sarah Burton, the creative director of the McQueen brand now and then ends with a checklist of the exhibition, acknowledgements and notes.

      I really love this book, it is mainly pictures just accompanied by short quotes however the quotes are very interesting and informative. They offer something new about the designs I've never noticed or known about. The photos are very beautiful and I really like that they are kept the same, each design is used on the same type of mannequin with a grey background so all the focus is on the outfit. The mannequins are often in different forms and I'm guessing fans have been used sometimes to show off how the dress moves and looks as if it were on a runway. In other books about McQueens work or other fashion books in general the pictures are often taken from runways so you can distracted by models and other things so I think it's a great idea to have all the photos in sort of uniform effect as it really keeps the focus on the designs. I would definitely recommend this book, especially to McQueen lovers and fashion students or school librarys as it is very informative and interesting to look at. The price is shown mainly in the quality of the book and paper and images used but is worth it.


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