Savage Beauty at the V&A has been a major success since its opening earlier this year. It is a major catalogue of the late Designer who made his own rules, and helped to cement the originality of British Design. It is about time that I open up the V&A accompanying coffee table book simply titled Alexander McQueen. There have a been a few retrospective McQueen books, but this is an in depth reflection of not just the clothes but the man behind it. Written by Claire Wilcox the Senior Curator of the Department of Furniture, Textiles & Fashion at the V&A and Professor of Fashion Curation at the London College of Fashion. She curated the exhibitions Vivienne Westwood (V&A 2004), and The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947–1957 (V&A 2007), editing the accompanying catalogues.
Simple and black, the hardback cover is a mock textured animal skin, making a visual nod to his affinity to nature. Inside chapters explore development from his graduate collection from Central st. Martins, sketches and the early years; to the autumn winter 2010 showing in Paris, directly after his death. There are accounts from his close knit team including Katie Grande and Gainsbury relaying the inner workings of the McQueen studio, and how privileged they felt working with him. It is enlightening reading the numerous essays from expert fashion commentators and cultural scholars which examine the richness and complexity of McQueen’s visionary fashion. The book gives a real behind the scenes feel to the Designers influences, his Couturier experiences and vision.
If you loved the exhibition, you will love this book. It captures the essence of McQueen, and I am sure he would have been immensely proud of both the exhibition and the book. I could have shown you more but it is better to let you marvel at the enchanting photography and surrender to the world that was McQueen for yourself. Available at the V & A shop for £35