Savage Beauty: Alexander McQueen – edited by Andrew Bolton

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.

Alexander McQueen Cross Section

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.

The (Shameful) Tally 2013

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