432 pages, 9.56 × 6.56 × 1.31 in
February 10, 2015
Penguin Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1594204942
ISBN - 13: 9781594204944
Read from the Book
INTRODUCTIONOn the evening of February 24, 2011, thirty-five-year-old Géraldine Bloch, the head of exhibitions at Paris’s Institute of the Arab World, and her boyfriend, forty-one-year-old Philippe Virgitti, who worked as a receptionist, were sitting on the terrace of the Paris café La Perle, chatting over a couple of beers, when the man next to them yelled to quiet down. Realizing that he was drunk—his eyes were glassy and his speech was slurred—they brushed him off. But he kept needling them.“Your voice is annoying me,” he snarled. “You’re speaking too loudly.”The drunk man’s bodyguard, standing a few feet away, saw that the situation was quickly devolving into a fight and Bloch was getting upset. He rang his boss’s lawyer on a cell phone and tried to pass the phone to Bloch so the lawyer could calm her down, but she refused to take the call. A security guard suggested she move to another table.Before she could, the drunk man grabbed her hair and shouted, “Dirty Jew face, you should be dead.” She screamed in pain. “Shut your mouth, dirty bitch,” he snapped. “I can’t stand your dirty whore voice.”He then turned his anger toward Virgitti and yelled: “Fucking Asian bastard, I’ll kill you!” As Bloch continued to shriek, the drunk told her: “You’re so ugly. I can’t bear looking at you. You’re wearing cheap boots, cheap thigh boots. You’ve got no hair, your eyebrows are ugly, you’re ugly, you’re nothing but a whore.”Then he let her go, stood up, struck a rock star–like pose and p
From the Publisher
More than two decades ago, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen arrived on the fashions scene when the business was in an artistic and economic rut. Both wanted to revolutionize fashion in a way no one had in decades. They shook the establishment out of its bourgeois, minimalist stupor with daring, sexy designs. They turned out landmark collections in mesmerizing, theatrical shows that retailers and critics still gush about and designers continue to reference.
Their approach to fashion was wildly different—Galliano began as an illustrator, McQueen as a Savile Row tailor. Galliano led the way with his sensual bias-cut gowns and his voluptuous hourglass tailoring, which he presented in romantic storybook-like settings. McQueen, though nearly ten years younger than Galliano, was a brilliant technician and a visionary artist who brought a new reality to fashion, as well as an otherworldly beauty. For his first official collection at the tender age of twenty-three, McQueen did what few in fashion ever achieve: he invented a new silhouette, the Bumster.
They had similar backgrounds: sensitive, shy gay men raised in tough London neighborhoods, their love of fashion nurtured by their doting mothers. Both struggled to get their businesses off the ground, despite early critical success. But by 1997, each had landed a job as creative director for couture houses owned by French tycoon Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH.
Galliano’s and McQueen’s work for Dior and Givenchy and beyond not only influenced fashion; their distinct styles were also reflected across the media landscape. With their help, luxury fashion evolved from a clutch of small, family-owned businesses into a $280 billion-a-year global corporate industry. Executives pushed the designers to meet increasingly rapid deadlines. For both Galliano and McQueen, the pace was unsustainable. In 2010, McQueen took his own life three weeks before his womens' wear show.
The same week that Galliano was fired, Forbes named Arnault the fourth richest man in the world. Two months later, Kate Middleton wore a McQueen wedding gown, instantly making the house the world’s most famous fashion brand, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened a wildly successful McQueen retrospective, cosponsored by the corporate owners of the McQueen brand. The corporations had won and the artists had lost.
In her groundbreaking work Gods and Kings, acclaimed journalist Dana Thomas tells the true story of McQueen and Galliano. In so doing, she reveals the revolution in high fashion in the last two decades—and the price it demanded of the very ones who saved it.
About the Author
Dana Thomas is the author of the New York Times bestseller Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. She began her career writing for the “Style” section of The Washington Post, and for fifteen years she served as the European cultural and fashion correspondent for Newsweek in Paris. She is currently a contributing editor for T: The New York Times Style Magazine and has written for The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and the Financial Times in London. She lives in Paris.
San Francisco Chronicle: “One of the most anticipated fashion reads of 2015 … explores the complicated minds of the two designers. From their brilliant early collections and career highs to McQueen’s tragic suicide and Galliano’s public meltdown, Thomas pays equal heed to the darkness and the light of both men in this gripping story of fashion Icaruses who flew too close to the sun.Christian Science Monitor: ”Those familiar with Thomas, author of "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster," are well aware of her abilities to break down the illusions of the fashion industry. She believes there were several reasons that contributed to the two designers’ downfalls: the crushing pressures in the new corporatization and democratization of fashion, the use of substance abuse as a coping mechanism, and the personal loss of family and close friends.”Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Thomas Jefferson and American Lion: “Dana Thomas has written a real-life saga that is as engaging and compelling as a work of great fiction. By taking us inside the fascinating world of fashion, she gives us a startling tale of ambition, creativity, fame, and ultimately tragedy. This is a terrific book.” Michael Gross, author of Model and House of Outrageous Fortune: “Comprehensive, detailed, coldly accurate yet extraordinarily sympathetic, Dana Thomas’s Gods and Kings is a fascinating double biography of two dressmakers of genius. But it's also a riveting, definitive history of the three decades i