God bless my public library. I finally got around to seeing if maybe, just perhaps, they had some of the books I’ve kept on my Amazon wish list waiting for a gift card and look what I found! Savage Beauty: Alexander McQueen, edited by Andrew Bolton. It is the companion book to the 2011 McQueen exhibit at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This is a coffee table book, but any book with this sentence in it deserves a review: … a conceit the designer repeated in Eshu (autumn/winter 2000-1) a collection inspired by the well-known deity of Yoruba mythology…
I don’t know who Eshu is, but I am in awe of that statement as a Christmas miracle of pretension. What I do know is that Alexander McQueen was a great artist and I always found his work interesting and beautiful. This is consistent with my love of design as art. I like art for art’s sake, but I really like functional art such as architecture, costume, and the practical everyday design that is elevated by a combination of form and function, such as my constant swooning over the Arts and Crafts movement and the giant book about cathedrals I got out of the library at the same time as this one.
The clothing featured in Savage Beauty: Alexander McQueen is sometimes fashion with a capital ‘F’ in that couture way which is as much about art as clothing, but there are also simply gorgeous wearable garments. The works include a cross-section of many McQueen collections with wonderful full-length and detail photographs, plus McQueen’s own commentary and not one, but two, introductions. Some of the clothing is art, some of it is beautiful, a lot of it is both. Without sound liking a pretentious twit, and overestimating my knowledge of fashion, I don’t feel I can comment on Savage Beauty: Alexander McQueen. So what I will say is that I loved and appreciated his work, recognized it as art and was fascinated by his kind of romanticism and concepts of beauty. That was still pretentious, but it was blessedly brief.