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Alexander McQueen: Blood Beneath the Skin Hardcover – September 1, 2015
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[In] Andrew Wilson's magnificent biography...[Alexander McQueen] comes across as a modern-day Mozart, unpredictable, rebellious, kind, witty, clever, scatalogical, but always with the unique talent and creative genius shining through...bounds across the pages and is brought to life by extensive interviews with family and friends...McQueen has got in Wilson the biographer he deserves. (The Independent (UK))
“Wilson's compelling and heavily researched bio…has already been published to rave reviews in Britain.” (Entertainment Weekly)
"Wilson's storytelling is crisp as he offers new insights into McQueen's short life...[and] provides unprecedented access to a misunderstood soul." (Boston Globe)
“My work is like a biography of my own personality,” the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen said, a thought that informs the structure of this account of his life and work. Detailed discussion of his sometimes macabre runway shows reveals a man obsessed with death and spectacle and haunted by childhood sexual abuse. Wilson reads in McQueen’s clothes a complicated relationship with women. Some critics, observing the near-brutality of the shows—one featured a model whose mouth was splayed open by metal braces—charged McQueen with misogyny, but Wilson sees the more extreme costumes as “armor,” a “sartorial force field,” and, perhaps, an invitation to empowerment. (The New Yorker)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The book reads seamlessly, and it offers an excellent look at the ascension of one of the greatest designers and creative minds of our time. Born in the East End - the rougher part of London, Lee (his birth name) McQueen was someone who worked very hard at his craft - first on Saville Row sewing suits, and later on he was off to St. Martins (where he studied along with John Galliano) to fully learn the art of designing garments. Never stopping for a second, but managing to squeeze some heavy partying and hook-ups into the mix, McQueen steadily rose to worldwide acclaim. And no doubt about it, Mr. McQueen was a complicated figure, and the author does not shrink from giving a warts and all view in addition to revealing the motives behind the clothes and the man.
This biography is extremely well written and includes a head spinning cast of supporting characters. The standouts are Daphne Guinness and Isabella Blow, but there are quite a few others too. Highly recommended for the fashion set everywhere, and also a valuable read for those interested in the creative process.
Full disclosure: Received a digital advance reviewer's copy from netgalley.com
The good — The book definitely fulfilled its purpose of giving me a much better sense of who Alexander McQueen was as a person. It filled in lots of details about his life and the struggles and people that shaped it. And of course it's always fun to read a story about how someone comes up from humble origins to make a huge success of themselves. And the costs of that success. So I definitely got what I came for, in that sense.
The less good — It felt like this book had no narrative cohesion. Each chapter represented a period in McQueen's life and read like a fact file of every interesting interview scrap Andrew Wilson had managed to gather about that time. It felt like reading the highlighted bits of somebody's research notes. All seven of McQueen's boyfriends blended together in my head, as did many of his friends and colleagues.Read more ›
Andrew Wilson does a great job depicting the frenzied arc of McQueen's life, the urgent energies propelling him, the talent, the insecurities, the drug habit, the gay habits, the consuming demands of the fashion world, McQueen's way with scissors...and, naturally, his obsession with beauty and decay rendered in theatrical splendour. The descriptions of the dress cuts are worth the read alone.
One of my favorite moments: McQueen is working on a wedding dress for friend Plum Sykes and she wants the dress to be "trendy." McQueen: "Plum, your wedding dress is not about looking trendy, it is about looking absolutely immaculate." And then in the course of a fitting, he uses McDonald's ketchup-stained fingers to adjust this very "immaculate white dress." Perfect capture!
This book is biography and tribute to one of the greatest fashion designers and visionaries EVER. Period.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A moving and intricate tribute to the work of Lee Alexander McQueen. Beautiful companion to the Victoria and Albert Museum exhibit.Published 3 months ago by Amanda K. Loftus
Brilliant book on one of the most avant garde designers/artists of the past 20 years. Great insight into the mind and life of such a creative talent that left us too early. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Rob Thompson
I had trouble deciding wether or not I wanted to get the book, because I knew a good bit about Lee Alexander McQueen, I knew it was going to be sad and at times disturbing. Read morePublished 6 months ago by BMean2Puki
This was a very intense book because you know how it will end. The reader feels like he is on a train with Lee, a train which will end up derailing and crashing tragically. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mystic by the Lake
What an amazing bio! The author.made me feel like I was literally front row next to Wintour.
McQueen is a genius and there is no person on earth that will ever come close to... Read more