Monday, 5 November 2012

A cup of tea and a good book..

So things have been a little quiet on the blog front for the last week, mostly because I have been plagued by a never ending ‘to do’ list but partly because I seem to spend half my life on the train at the moment. You know those bastards that shove you in the back to get onto a tube that is clearly at capacity? Yep, I hate them too. And now I’ve become one.

When I do manage to spend some time at my desk however, I’ve been working my way through a stack of very good reading material to review for My Creative Diva magazine, and frankly you can’t beat a good book and a cup of tea on a cold, rainy afternoon. So I thought I’d share three of my fashion favourites from the first three issues – all well worth a read.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can find more of my reviews plus loads of features and interviews over at

Alexander McQueen: Genius of a Generation by Kristin Knox
Published by A&C Black, £19.99

The late Alexander McQueen has long been one of my favourite fashion designers and consequently this was one book that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. I remember attending London Fashion Week shortly after his sad death in 2010, and being moved by a wall of tributes covered in messages and memories. McQueen was a designer whose genius truly touched the lives of many.

Kristin Knox is a journalist and fashion blogger at Through Alexander McQueen: A Genius of a Generation, she has successfully created a beautiful keepsake filled with images of McQueen’s most memorable designs and show stopping catwalk shows.

The comprehensive introduction charts the designer’s rise to fame, from his humble beginnings as the youngest of six siblings in Stepney East London, through his early career as a tailor at Anderson & Sheppard and later discovery by Isabella Blow, to the many (often controversial) collections that made him one of fashions brightest stars.

McQueen was appointed CBE, named International Fashion Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designers Awards and named British Designer of the year four times. His name brings to mind, for many, images of his iconic skull print scarves and knuckle-duster clutches but there was so much more to this multifaceted talent. This book will serve as a lasting reminder of the fabulous couture that captured the minds and hearts of women the world over.

The Fashion Design Directory by Marnie Fogg
Published by Thames & Hudson, £18.95

For anybody with an interest in fashion, this little guide is nothing short of essential, featuring 125 internationally known designers. It begins with a brief history of fashion throughout the ages, which charts the history of couture from its beginnings in Paris through each decade and highlights the designers and models that have defined each era.

The main body of the book is devoted to profiling the 125 featured designers; including information about their individual styles and beautiful photographs that capture their seminal looks. Browse through this sartorial A to Z, from Acne to Yves Saint Laurent, and you will be inspired by the proliferation of talent on display and the iconic looks that have punctuated modern day fashion’s colourful history.

Standout moments for me include Vivienne Westwood’s 1981 ‘Pirate’ collection, Christian Dior’s ubiquitous New Look collection in 1947 and the late, great Alexander McQueen’s futuristic 2010 collection, with those shoes that will never be forgotten! There is even a swatch directory at the back of the book, which showcases the memorable patterns and textures of fashion designers such as Basso And Brooke and Diane Von Furstenburg. This is a fabulous reference.

Isabella Blow by Martina Rink
Published by Thames & Hudson, £29.95

This month’s inspirational diva comes in the shape of the late Isabella Blow. She is a character that has fascinated me for a long time; a true fashion icon, instantly recognisable with her bold Philip Treacy headwear and trademark red lips.

Blow is widely recognised for discovering and nurturing up and coming talents such as Treacy, Alexander McQueen and models Sophie Dahl and Stella Tennant. But this 192-page book reveals so much more, in a selection of touching letters from friends, colleagues and former acquaintances. Contributions come from Mario Testino, Manolo Blahnik, Victoria Beckham and Boy George to name but a few.

Isabella lived her life in her own uniquely glamourous way. My favourite recollection in the book is probably that of US Vogue Editor, Anna Wintour, who revealed that Blow cleaned her desk each night with a bottle of Perrier water and Chanel No. 5.

This is a fantastic insight into a much loved and talented women with a mischievous sense of humour, whose achievements were not always recognised when she was alive. I can safely say that once I picked the book up I barely put it down until I had finished!


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