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Alexander McQueen: Evolution

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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.

216 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2012

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About the author

Katherine A. Gleason

25 books8 followers
Katherine Gleason has written more than 30 books for young people and adults, including Alexander McQueen: Evolution and Anatomy of Steampunk: The Fashion of Victorian Futurism. She particularly enjoys writing and reading about animals, ancient cultures, and faraway places. Her love of travel has taken her all over the world, and she has, in fact, visited all seven of Earth's continents.

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5 stars
112 (63%)
4 stars
42 (23%)
3 stars
17 (9%)
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5 (2%)
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Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews
Profile Image for Jaimie.
1,533 reviews15 followers
February 21, 2014
While I would have liked to see more pictures of McQueen's creations (where is the book that has everything?) I very much appreciated the chronological format and careful photo choices that make up this book. It is rare that we see a fashion book that presents a designer's collections in such an organized fashion, so it is very much applauded when it happens. Maybe it's a format that only works for short-lived designers with a finite body of work (the other example I've seen chronologizes Dior's 10 seasons), but this seems like a cheap excuse. Start from the beginning and tell the story as far as possible - reader's can draw their own conclusions about references and themes. Even though there were limited pictures (many being full pages), those that were included did an excellent job of showing the range of each McQueen collection.
Profile Image for Susannah.
483 reviews6 followers
February 6, 2013
This book chronicles every McQueen fashion show since his graduate collection. It is great to have an overview of every collection he produced, and the drama and theatrics that went with them. The only downside is that I wanted to see more pictures of the clothes!
Profile Image for Lucy.
667 reviews164 followers
November 30, 2020
Actual Rating: 2.75/5 stars

Nice summary of his collections but there weren't many photos of each collection and it often mentioned pieces that weren't featured.
Profile Image for Lauren.
329 reviews5 followers
August 29, 2016
Like several of the books out on McQueen this one is divided up by taking a chronological look at each of his fashion shows and their accompanying themes. What I really enjoyed about this book in particular is the inclusion of a description of the shows' invitations and the carefully chosen venue for the events as well as the prominent critical reviews following each show.
Profile Image for Mikaila.
63 reviews15 followers
December 27, 2018
I love McQueen so much and pretty much anything about him. This book helped me get a closer look at collections that I never was able to see or find on the internet. I do wish that there were more pictures, the author described a lot of outfits but I wish that she had photos to match the descriptions. I did love the inside look at each show and she added little things like what the invitation looked like that helped me get a better understanding of just how articulate and amazing Alexander McQueen was.
Profile Image for Beth.
913 reviews21 followers
June 12, 2017
A chapter dedicated to each of McQueen's collections, discussing not only his amazing clothes but also the unique invitation, setting, ambiance, soundtrack, inspiration, and critics and the public's reactions to each collection. I wish the book had more photos showing more looks from each of the shows, as the clothes are absolutely stunning. McQueen was an absolute genius.
Profile Image for Antonia.
243 reviews66 followers
January 5, 2016
“I want to be the purveyor of a certain silhouette or a way of cutting, so that when I’m dead and gone people will know that the twenty-first century was started by Alexander McQueen.”
-Alexander McQueen

Indeed McQueen is a genius is fashion. I only wished this book collection had a section with his designs for celebrities as those were the most visible part of his creativeness.

Profile Image for Elaine.
21 reviews1 follower
January 23, 2014
What an eye-catching coffee table book! Alexander Mcqueen has always been a favourite of mine and this book truly captures his genius talent and evolution through the years. Filled with beautiful photos and just the right amount of text, I think this book is great for any fashion lover or anyone who wants to learn about his work.
Profile Image for Brooke.
61 reviews
October 13, 2014
This beautiful book follows the evolution of Alexander Mcqueen through his collections. I was pleased that there was little commentary on his personal life and the clothing was allowed to take center-stage. The only thing I would change about this book is that I was left wanting more images of the clothing. Although, to include every piece would have resulted in an unrealistically enormous book.
Profile Image for Sarah.
194 reviews
March 22, 2018
Beautiful book. It seems to cover almost or all of McQueen's shows during his lifetime. I would have loved more photos of outfits and pieces per section, but I do think this amount was enough to be satisfied.
Profile Image for Erika.
321 reviews3 followers
May 5, 2013
I love Alexander McQueen I wish I had known more about him before he passed. This book is a comprehensive look at every runway show ever did. If you are an Alexander McQueen fan check this out.
Profile Image for Yaritza.
672 reviews124 followers
December 10, 2013
Excellent book. Had amazing pictures of Alexander McQueen's fashion shows. Really portrayed the person he was.
173 reviews1 follower
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June 17, 2015
awesome and awe inspiring. read savage beauty as well. fashion design is so much more... the butterfly hat is one of the best, and the girl who lived in the tree collection amazed!
Profile Image for Anneleen .
39 reviews23 followers
July 17, 2016
"I get my ideas out of my dreams...if you're lucky enough to use something you see in a dream, it is purely original. It's not in the world- it's in your head." - Alexander McQueen
Profile Image for Pocki.
84 reviews19 followers
February 2, 2019
This book is gorgeous and nicely informative. It's great to get a presentation of each runway show through McQueen's career, including some insight in inspiration as well as staging and even invites. And of course, what the critics thought of it. Naturally, just as the other reviews I've skimmed past here, I wish we could've seen more. We get descriptions of looks, but no photographs and it leaves us wanting. But you can't fit everything in a book like this, I get that. The layout of it is beautiful, and all pictures are of a decent size, even when they don't cover a full page.

Alexander McQueen is for sure my favourite designer, and the brand continue to be my favourite even without him. I will treasure this book for years to come, but I'm curious to see what the so called "definitive publication" by Claire Wilcox (simply titled "Alexander McQueen") contains. Having seen some previews on Amazon that book might actually contain contact sheets for the collections. But maybe not all, or complete. We'll see. At any rate, this is a beautiful publication with gorgeous photography, good writing, and an excellent layout.

I'd definitely recommend this book to any fan of McQueen, or fashion in general.
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews

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