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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

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4.54 of 5 stars 4.54  ·  rating details  ·  1,382 ratings  ·  93 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by Metropolitan Museum of Art (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Mike
I know basically nothing about fashion. I do know, though, that this book pulls off something kind of extraordinary: convincing me not only that McQueen deserved a posthumous retrospective at the Met (I was never much in doubt on that score) but also that McQueen was as pure and complete an artist as ever lived. He's Miles Davis. He's Van Gogh. McQueen was everything an artist should be: endlessly innovative, aware of the past and concerned for the future, literate, tireless, deeply invested in ...more
Laren
Of course you should see the Savage Beauty installation at the Met before you even glance at this book....It's a multi-sensory experience. Dark. Deep. Industrial. Colourful. Tailored. Baroque. Broken. Bumstered. Political. Poetical. Magical. Feathered. And eerie, windswept sounds come at you around every corner. The mannequins are masked and faceless and in that sense, they are everyone and also...no one. In the book...well...humans become surreal. The installation is an extravaganza of theatre, ...more
Grady
Fashion as Art

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
...more
Alicia
Jun 06, 2012 Alicia added it
This compilation of quotes and detailed photographs of McQueen's work is breathtaking. My favourite quotes: "There's blood beneath every layer of skin"; "I don't think like the average person on the street. I think quiet perversely sometimes"; "Life to me is a bit of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale"; "In this collection the idea was to turn people's faces on themselves. I wanted to turn it around and make them think, am I actually as good as what I'm looking at?"; "I'm a romantic schizophrenic";"Wom ...more
Yuki
Aug 05, 2011 Yuki rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Giselle
Recommended to Yuki by: "Savage Beauty" exhibit at MMA
The installation curated by Andrew Bolton at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is absolutely wonderful, astonishing, extraordinary! I would give this book five stars if it contained photographs from the actual installation -- raw concrete stages, aged mirrors, Cabinet of Curiosities room, etc. This 8.5 minute video will give you a good overview of the "experience": http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermc...

I took advantage of the extra hour to see the exhibit at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, and skip the queue
...more
Anna
Companion edition to the McQueen exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The majority of the content here is photographs of exhibition pieces, posed on mannequins, shown context-free save for occasional quotes from the designer. There are also some sets of smaller photographs that are live action shots from various runway presentations. It was tempting to jump right in and just look at the pictures, but I'm glad I read the preface and introduction first - they were crucial for background a ...more
Phair
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Each illustration became my favorite- page after page of the most exquisite fashion, beautifully presented and photographed.

It was a large format book and very heavy! Found the text a little hard to read being such huge pages and such tiny print I kept losing my place (old eyes). Brief but fascinating background on McQeen's life and artistic vision. Really ticked off that I never got to see this exhibition.
koma coreénne

Mcqueen on "Highland Rape":
It's all about the way I'm feeling about my life. Scotland for me is a harsh, cold and bitter place. It was even worse when my great, great grandfather used to live there. I have no respect for what the English did there, they wiped whole families out. The reason I'm patriotic about Scotland is because I think it's been dealt a really hard hand. It's marketed the world over as… fucking haggis, fucking bagpipes. But no one ever puts anything back into it. I hate it when
...more
Viridian5
Disclaimer: I'm not a total Alexander McQueen fan. In my opinion, some of his clothes are beautiful clothes, some are art, some of his clothes are beautiful clothes and art, some look like costumes, and some are just plain silly, the latter particularly when he gets too literal about some things, like the three taxidermy hawks that perpetually "pull" at the top of one of the VOSS dresses and look ridiculous. I actually saw the Costume Institute at the Met exhibition this book is a companion to a ...more
A.C. Bauch
i was blessed to have been able to see this exhibit at the met during its final weekend. the many-hour wait was well worth it (hooray for ipods!), and i doubt i'll see another fashion exhibit like it ever again.

i've never read much about mcqueen's life, even though i always felt his exhibits were the highlight of any fashion season--i looked forward to his collections more than any other designers'. i enjoyed getting a "peek behind the curtain," so to speak, about mcqueen, especially his formati
...more
Vineca Gray
Impossible to put into a few words. Those of us drawn to the enigma of Lee McQueen are forever changed over his tragic departure. We are reminded that genius does exist in this world; seemingly snuffed by the universe to force us to reflect. Lee McQueen is only just barely behind John Lennon as a man who has had that impact on me.

A beautiful book that I cannot put down - a humbling reminder to artists, writers, designers, actors that we struggle with this beautiful chaos together - even as we fe
...more
Rebecca
The magnificent exhibition catalogue-gone-massive book accompanying the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. This is an introduction to both the work of Alexander McQueen and the man himself - not Alexander but Lee, the man behind the mask. Lee McQueen was not a man it was easy to get close to, but this book still makes a good attempt of it. It describes his life, from a kid with an unusual interest in fashion, via his formative years first at Saville Row and ...more
Ian
It's clear to even a fashion dullard like me from reading this book, essentially the official catalog from the retrospective of his work at The Met, that McQueen was a genius and a true artist. But while the book is adequate, some of the run-of-the-mill (by fashion standards) photography doesn't seem to do the pieces they capture full justice or rise to the level McQueen apparently demanded when presenting his collections during live shows. Worth reading for the great preface by Andrew Bolton an ...more
Katie
Aug 11, 2011 Katie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
I had very high hopes for this book after having my mind blown at the Met's exhibit. The book just seems to present the clothing in a dull, mechanical, archival type of way, as if the shots were simply taken for inventory. The book lacks the flair, excitement, and beauty of the instillation itself; the clothing is still magnificent, don't get me wrong, but the Met really had the opportunity to do something amazing with this catalog by incorporating even a tiny amount of that brilliant staging; I ...more
James Schneider
It is interesting to re-contextualize Alexander McQueen's exquisite work in a static, inhuman format. While I believe that this is an imperfect way to view his work, as shot on mannequins (of course, dented and scratched), it offers a reframe of context, removes factors to highlight his pure vision. His baroque and romantic/violent pieces always drew your eye from their wearer.

This volume, which accompanied an exhibit at the MOMA, is lavish and beautiful, and his clothing still registers as sur
...more
Niki Ganong
This gorgeous coffee table book is the companion piece/catalog for the designer's 2011 Met retrospective. In addition to the last ten or years of collections, it also has two lengthy interviews, one with McQueen himself and the other with Sara Burton, who took the reigns of the atelier after McQueen's 2010 suicide.

The book is all fashion and the inspiration for the designs. And it's a stunning book, bound beautifully with full-color folios and a nifty hologram cover. But there is no talk of the
...more
Jenny
Very apt title. An exhibit catalog from a 2011 show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The size of the book affords much detail. Each stitch is literally breath-taking. I recently read the biography Life and the Legacy [of AMcQ] and cringed each time a piece was described WITHOUT any image. Each piece is riveting and I am finding it hard to return to the 'brary.
The color study is amazing and the textual feeling both luxurious and dangerous. McQueen's work reminds me of a radio review of a [secre
...more
msd
This is not the kind of book I would usually read or buy. I appreciate art, but I have a fairly non-existent interest in fashion. However, a quick flick through this book interested me enough to look it up on Amazon and order a copy. McQueen has left behind some stunning work and this collection illustrates the designer's imagination and creativity wonderfully. So many times I was looking at a piece and I'd gasp at the sheer gorgeousness of a design. I won't deny it, I stroked a few pages and og ...more
Deodand
Even those of us who are fashion troglodytes can enjoy this book that showcases McQueen's surreal clothing. I will probably never see an exhibit up close, what with being far away from anywhere it has been shown. This beautifully-built book will have to suffice.

This book makes me long for a better quality of clothing. Not couture for everyone - just a raising of the standards of retail clothing back to where it was even 10 years ago. More people in the garment industry should be made to read thi
...more
Noa
Gorgeous book, the cover is simply beautiful; a must for those at all interested in fashion and the genius workings of Alexander McQueen!
Sylvia
This book was released in conjunction with an exhibition of McQueen's work at the Met in New York. Since I couldn't make it to the exhibit, I was really interested in the book. I am really blown away by what an amazing and artistic designer he was. I have looked through the book several times now, never ceasing to ooh and aah at such incredible pieces. Since I have been sewing for about a year now, I can also now see and understand what kind of skill is required in order to produce clothing at t ...more
Kerrie
You don't really read so much as experience this book. Being a layperson and a 2 on a scale of potato sack to haute couture, I can say I was delighted to read this. I went through it in about 35 minutes after seeing it on a far more fashionable friend's shelf. The aesthetics needn't be mentioned, obviously. I really appreciated the caliber of writing applied to his back story and the peppering of quotes that accompanied the photographs. The entire work reflects a deliberateness and reverence app ...more
Kristy M
I'm a visual person and this book really captured my attention. Even if you don't like his style for clothes, if you are into modern art you will be able to appreciate the stunning photography and display this book provides. If you are a designer, than you will marvel at the intricate design and how perfect fabrics were chosen to lay or look a certain way. If you are into fashion, it will take your breath away. There are many designs in this book that are not "my taste" per se, but I still looke ...more
Azem
This book is so beautifully produced and the cover is really original and amazing. McQueen's clothes are inspiring and beautiful. It amazes me how much detail there is in his designs. This book was published as a catalogue of the exhibition with the same name. This is why all the photos in the books are of dresses modelled on mannequins. I think that's a real shame because McQueen designed his clothes to look amazing on women. Movement, stature and posture play an essential role. Modelled on man ...more
Alexandria
Again with the creepy picturea.
Halley
Alexander McQueen died February 11, 2010. He was an icon in the fashion industry.
This book is not only chronicles his life but, explores the process it took to be where he ended up, his ingenuity, his innovation and his legacy. I read this beautiful book in one day. This is a lovely tribute to a fashion designer and conceptual artist who died too young but whose contributions to the fashion and art world will live on. This book is likely to become a collector's item; it will sell out quickly so
...more
Terri
First saw this book when it came through the library as a reserve going to someone else. Thought it looked really weired. Then I read review in Time and decided to check it out myself. While I will never, ever understand 'artist' speak, I did look at the pictures and A McQ's designs, and had a better appreciation for what he did. If you get past some of the outrageousness, and the double-talk behind it, you get to understand why his designs can be considered as art. Some are breath-taking.
Kelly
Wow. I've never been big on the fashion scene and designers - but a coffee table book? I can do that. So I got this from interlibrary loan and read it over a couple days. Alexander McQueen was a genius, even I can recognize that. He was more an artist that used clothes and fabrics as a medium, and did just brilliant work. He said that he wanted extreme reactions to his collections, either good or bad, and I can see how his clothes really fit into that frame of mind. He was amazing.
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