mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Homo aestheticus. (8)

Extreme Beauty: The Body Transformed by Harold Koda.

Incredible and
Marvelous! The corset-sword
sharp in the Queen's hands.

This is the book I was reading when I found out Alexander McQueen had committed suicide. Reading it I had a mix of impressions: notably that Harold Koda loves Alexander McQueen. You can't blame him-- he is/was my favorite designer, too. Now in my case, I don't really know enough about fashion to delve too deeply; I feel like having McQueen as your favorite might be too easy, but either way, it is true. I have used McQueen's designs more than once to illustrate the otherworldliness of Oubliette, my role-playing world. Harold Koda, on the other hand, & the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection by extension, love him because his designs aren't arbitrary. They are comments on fashion-- or more to the point on fashion history. Thus, while every other example shown is a different designer or historical representation, almost a full half-- the rest-- are McQueen. Extreme Beauty is the intersection of biology & fashion-- of body & clothing. It is an awesome book-- I got if for X-mas & looked though it in advance so I knew I was in for a treat. The book discusses not just the evolution of style, but it places it in the context of the body, of the parts of flesh it accentuates or de-accentuates. Of the nape of the neck, the hip, the bust. & the massive exaggeration possible, & the morphing of the body to allow it-- the golden lotus of foot-binding, the rings that stretch the neck (or lower the shoulder, as the truth may be. Besides all the history, it is of course fabulously illustrated; the grass coat & quill crown (41), the sculpted busts (56), the ridiculously costume chimere (71), the pleats & gloves of alien looks (92), the fashion of African hunters who look tough as hell side by side with looks that are hot as hell (96, 97), the reveal of sheer corset wires (120) not to mention the notion of the corset's busk as a sword (72), the saddle obi (134)-- all just amazing, mind blowing stuff. So consider this doubly recommended, as both a visual reference & a historical resource. Now in a McQueenless world, will Thierry Mugler become my new favorite?
Tags: books, fashion, haiku, harold koda

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