Book Review - Champagne Supernovas
It was a beautiful day in St. Charles when we took these photos - bright sunshine, 80 degrees, everything in bloom. I love how the pink trees bring out the pink in the book. Eric and I stopped by Bike Stop Cafe for iced lattes before we took these pics, a great refreshing and reviving drink for a hot May day. This spot by the Missouri river had a lot of people walking and biking the Katy Trail, enjoying a book on a shady piece of grass, or taking cat naps in hammocks. I just love how people come out to enjoy the first days of Summer weather!
Every semester I facilitate a student reading group with my School of Art, Architecture, and Design students at Indiana University. I choose two books to read for the semester - we meet every two weeks to discuss a section of the book. This semester I chose Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas by Donna M. Lucey and Champagne Supernovas: Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, and the '90s Renegades Who Remade Fashion by Maureen Callahan. I liked the combination of the two books because one was fresh off the press, but about a more historic time...the other was an older publication (2014) but about a more recent time period. Regardless, both were considered "fashion history" to my students, who are now watching shows such as Friends for "historic fashion inspiration." Take a second to let that sink in.
Although I was a child of the 90s, I hadn't yet started to pay attention to "high fashion" at that age and I was blissfully unaware of the drugs that fueled the fashion world that was inspiring current trends. What I knew about 90s fashion, I learned from my history of fashion courses and they were VERY brief when covering decades as recent as the 90s. So truth be told, I probably knew a fraction more than the average person who grew up in the 90s. So I was really fascinated by this book as I learned about the lives of Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, and Alexander McQueen. I can distinctly remember hearing of McQueen's death in 2010, which was in the middle of my graduate school days studying fashion history at the University of Missouri. I was familiar with his work but knew little of where he came from and how he got to be one of the most successful fashion designers of the day.
A great supplement to this book is the documentary, McQueen and I, which can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube, here. Reading about fashion can be difficult sometimes because a description of a design never does the design justice - the documentary allowed us to view the designs that Maureen attempted to describe in her book. My students, who did not grow up hearing about McQueen designs in the headlines, appreciated the opportunity to see some of his more iconic work as they were shown on the runway at the time. We opted to watch the documentary during one of our meetings after a brief discussion of that section of the book.