Becoming an established name didn't slow down this enfant terrible. Alexander McQueen continues to explore dramatic silhouettes ranging from the most fragile of dresses to molded carapace-like corsets all within a poetic storyline. As his career builds the fashion crowd anxiously awaits each additional chapter.
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.
More than two decades ago, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen arrived on the fashions scene when the business was in an artistic and economic rut. Both wanted to revolutionize fashion in a way no one had in decades. They shook the establishment out of its bourgeois, minimalist stupor with daring, sexy designs. They turned out landmark collections in mesmerizing, theatrical shows that retailers and critics still gush about and designers continue to reference. 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.
"The first definitive biography of the iconic, notoriously private British fashion designer Alexander McQueen explores the connections between his dark work and even darker life. 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"--
In 1962, Alexander McQueen Quattlebaum first visited the Isle of Skye, off the west coast of Scotland. After surveying the land and finding it a stark contrast to the fertile fields of South Carolina's lowcountry, he understood why, after generations, his forbears had chosen to leave the Scottish isle and cross the Atlantic. However, over the next two decades he made annual visits to Scotland and slowly uncovered the rich history of the MacQueen and Macfarlane families.