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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

4.5 12
by Andrew Bolton, Tim Blanks (Contribution by), Susannah Frankel (Contribution by), Solve Sundsbo (Photographer)

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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 designer’s career, from the start of his fledgling


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 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.

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.

Editorial Reviews

The short life of fashion designer Alexander McQueen (1969-2010) ended with a suicide, but not even that tragic act should blur our sense of his accomplishments. The brilliance of the four-time British Designer of the Year Award-winner shines brightly in this abundantly illustrated assessment of his entire career. Author Andrew Bolton and his talented team of contributors have constructed fascinating in-depth studies of six McQueen collections, even paying welcome attention to the designer's lavish, well-planned runway presentations. This attractive coffee table hardcover also includes a revealing interview with Sarah Burton, McQueen's longtime assistant and the successor at his firm.

Harpers Bazaar
“McQueen’s brilliance is celebrated in this sumptuous tome that accompanies the Costume Institute’s spring retrospective. The hologram cover makes it a collector’s item.”—Harper’s Bazaar
I-D Magazine - Dean Mayo Davies
“….the definitive reference of Lee Alexander McQueen.”—Dean Mayo Davies, I-D Magazine
Sydney Morning Herald - Janice Breen Burns
“Many books will come dedicated to his genius, but Savage Beauty will remain a beacon.”—Janice Breen Burns, Sydney Morning Herald
The Huffington Post
“Excellent catalogue” —The Huffington Post
Lonny Magazine
“For those still wanting to view McQueen's fashion creations, the book shines on.” —Lonny Magazine
Creative Loafing
“ The catalog—with its gorgeous images places alongside provocative, incisive, and often puzzling conversational quotes from the designer himself—makes for an interesting way to get a peek at the show for those of us who won’t be lucky enough to make it to New York this summer.”—Creative Loafing
Choice - C. Donaldson
"[T]his book itself is a showstopper."—C. Donaldson, Choice
The Financial Times (Christmas Books) - Carola Long
“An authoritative and moving insight into the legacy of the British designer.”—Carola Long, The Financial Times (Christmas Books)
Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) - 2011 Award for Excellence
Winner of the Awards for Excellence in 2011, as given by the Association of Art Museum
ForeWord Magazine - Book of the Year Finalist
Finalist for the 2011 ForeWord Book of the Year Award in the Art category

Product Details

Yale University Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 13.50(h) x 1.10(d)


Meet the Author

Andrew Bolton is Curator at The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Susannah Frankel is fashion editor of The Independent newspaper. Tim Blanks is contributing editor of Style.com.

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Alexander McQueen 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
BratDet More than 1 year ago
I bought it before I went to the MET exhibit that closed yesterday. Knowing the exhibit would be crowded, I wanted a little advance information. I was already planning on sharing it with others at work and will do so to others if someone mentions they were unable to get to the MET. This is one book I definitely prefer NOT on my nook! Well done!
CandleAshes More than 1 year ago
The content of the book is stunning. Large photographs that show a lot of detail. Illuminating quotes by Alexander McQueen. The paper is thick and high quality. The lenticular cover is a nice touch, I think this old-school technology is rather fitting. This is definitely a book that Everyone interested in fashion should own. My only issue with it is that it doesn't have a dust jacket. I don't understand how something so gorgeous on the inside can have such a major oversight in cover design. The cover is an unattractive brown cloth binding with gold letters on the spine. When you place it on a shelf, it looks like you lost the dust jacket or bought it at a discount rack. How can something that retails for $50 look this way? To add insult to injury, there is a paper insert in the back cover that would normally have been the back of a dust jacket. This piece of paper is merely held to the book by the cellophane wrapping that the book comes in, once you take the book out of its packaging, you are left with a book and a large piece of paper that is in no way attached to it. How much more could it have possibly cost to double that paper into a dust jacket? Yes, there is a heavy print that had to be glued to the cover, but they should have cut out a window in the dust jacket for it, not eliminate it all together. It's a joke and ruins that whole experience.
LoveAPageTurner More than 1 year ago
Like another reviewer stated, this book absolutely should have come with a sleeve of some sort to preserve to cover of the book itself if by chance it's not placed on someone's coffee table.  I am just staring to read the preface, but after quickly thumbing though, I LOVE the large photographs and how you are able to see how rich and sumptuous the fabrics are.  I only wish I'd had a chance to see the collection up close at The Met.  Alas, I am glad that for those of us that weren't able to make it can relive the exhibit in the comfort of our homes via this wonderful book.  His designs will definitely be studied and re-visited by tomorrow's up and coming fashion designers.  A must have for any fashion/art lover, I highly recommend and you won't be disappointed!  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book holds up to the show. A great addition if you've been to the Met to see the McQueen show, but also a beautiful in depth look if you couldn't make there. It will really make you wonder why we had to lose such a great talent and see McQueen as the artist he was. You will no longer think of him as just a clothing designer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
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 S&#248;lve Sundsb&#248;) 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
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rozer More than 1 year ago
great book its great book for all.