Alexander McQueen: Blood Beneath the Skin
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The first, definitive biography of the iconic, notoriously private British fashion designer Alexander McQueen “offers new insights...and provides unprecedented access to a misunderstood soul” (The Boston Globe).
When forty-year-old Alexander McQueen committed suicide in February 2010, a shocked world mourned the loss. McQueen had risen from humble beginnings as the son of an East London taxi driver to scale the heights of fame, fortune, and glamour. He created a multimillion-dollar luxury brand that became a favorite with celebrities, including Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. He designed clothes for the world’s most beautiful women and royalty, most famously the Duchess of Cambridge, who wore a McQueen dress on her wedding day.
But behind the confident facade and bad-boy image, lay a sensitive soul who struggled to survive in the ruthless world of fashion. As the pressures of work intensified, McQueen became increasingly dependent on the drugs that contributed to his tragic end. Meanwhile, his failure to find lasting love in a string of boyfriends only added to his despair. And then there were the secrets that haunted his sleep…
A modern-day fairy tale infused with the darkness of a Greek tragedy, Alexander McQueen provides “a thorough and emotionally compelling exploration…of a complex and enigmatic artist” (Publishers Weekly). Andrew Wilson’s “magnificent” (The Independent, UK) and “compelling and heavily researched bio” (Entertainment Weekly), featuring never-before-seen photographs and rare interviews, dispels myths, corrects inaccuracies, and shares new insights into McQueen’s private life and the source of his creative genius.
corsetted waist that dominated her silhouette’.26 At the end of the show, McQueen, wearing his tartan kilt and a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, walked onto the stage with Philip Treacy. This catwalk appearance was an emotional experience for Lee, intensified by the sound of Neil Diamond singing ‘Play Me’. The song, which included the repeated words, ‘You are the sun, I am the moon,’ highlighted the symbiotic nature of the relationship between Alexander and Isabella: the existence of one depended on
York magazine, 25 August 1997 52 ‘Macabre McQueen’, Katherine Betts, op. cit. 53 ‘Fur and Feathers Fly for McQueen Triumph’, Heath Brown, The Times, 8 July 1997 54 ‘The Kids Are All Right’, Chip Brown, op. cit. 55 ‘All Hail McQueen’, Lorna V, Time Out, 24 September–1 October 1997 56 Interview with Jacqui McQueen, 29 August 2013 57 Savage Beauty, Metropolitan Museum, p. 73 58 Interview with Murray Arthur, 21 November 2013 59 Interview with Archie Reed, 25 May 2013 60 Email from Murray
was of a hybrid figure, half-woman, half-mermaid; her head, or what remained of it, was veiled, while her breasts were adorned with metallic cones and piercing her stomach was an arrow. Another showed an aggressive-looking dog next to an exotic, mythical bird. McQueen would sign his sketches, ‘Carmen with love, Lee’, but at times she found it puzzling. ‘The collections at the time were very Pre-Raphaelite, all about beautiful women, and here was this guy sketching monsters,’ she said. ‘I thought,
‘Of course, we all started falling over on the slippery paint for some cheap slapstick laughs, but I wasn’t laughing when the cow fell on top of us and I couldn’t get back up,’ said Donald. ‘I was under their dead-drunk bodies, pushing and wriggling, trying to get out from under them but they couldn’t move. It even crossed my mind that they were deliberately trying to suffocate me.’ Perhaps Donald was motivated to get his own back on his two friends when he invited them to a live broadcast at
issue as a freelance consultant. Although the owners of Hedingham Castle, the Lindsays, had been reluctant to let it out for film or photographic projects, Isabella and Detmar used their connections with the family to secure its use for Vanity Fair. ‘Issie told me that Lee had said, “Who is the most expensive photographer? David LaChapelle – we will get him to shoot us,”’ remembers Detmar. ‘Issie loved this strategy. It made her laugh. It was classic chutzpah, clever, defiant and proud. The title