Race Point Publishing, 2012
Within the last few years after Lee Alexander McQueen’s untimely death in 2010, authors and publishers have scrambled to put out his work in print. Admittedly, I never tire of staring at his clothes, but I prefer a bit more context and insight into why a designer or artist is so memorable. Katherine Gleason’s new title, "Alexander McQueen: Evolution", stands out in the sea of fashion designer books. Readers are presented with dozens of high-resolution images of McQueen’s designs, complete with inspiration behind the collections, detailed runway show descriptions, and memorable quotes from the designer and those who knew him.
In her introduction, Gleason traces McQueen’s professional career beginning with his roots on Savile Row as a tailor’s apprentice, studying at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, his relationship with Isabella Blow, and finally ending with his first collection inspired by Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver film.
From there, the book is divided into short chapters that detail each of McQueen’s runway shows. Throughout his work, it is clear that McQueen had a long history of shocking the fashion world. With themes ranging from his Spring/Summer 1994 Nihilism show, which featured “bumster” trousers that exposed the wearer’s buttocks, to spraying model Shalom Harlow’s white dress with paint shooting from machines in front of a live audience, McQueen was a fearless innovator.