Feb 5, 2015
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New book chronicles designers' battles with their inner demons

Feb 5, 2015

Paris-based journalist Dana Thomas's new book "Gods & Kings": The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano" lifts the lid on the highly mediatized trials of two of the most influential fashion designers of the 21st century.

Filled with new revelations and insider information on their life and work, Dana's 2-for-1 biography will go on sale in the United States and the UK on February 10. The release date comes in the wake of Galliano's return to fashion as creative director of Maison Martin Margiela and coincides with the fifth anniversary of McQueen's death.

"Gods & Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano" by Dana Thomas | Photo: Penguin Press

Tragic, engrossing, and eye-opening, "Gods & Kings" is not only an up-close and personal account of the lives of two of fashion's biggest names, but also a revelatory history of a transforming moment in high fashion.

Rewind back to February 2011, John Galliano, then head of Christian Dior, imploded with a drunken, anti-Semitic public tirade. Exactly a year earlier, brilliant but troubled designer Alexander McQueen took his own life three weeks before his womenswear show.

As this new tome demonstrates, Galliano and McQueen shared plenty of common ground. In the 1990s, they spearheaded the English invasion of the Paris fashion industry, landing jobs as creative directors for Dior and Givenchy, both headed by French tycoon and LVMH boss Bernard Arnault.

On a personal level, they were sensitive, shy, gay men raised in tough London neighborhoods. For both men, overcoming inner turmoil was their biggest battle. One gave up the fight, while the other lives to tell the tale.

Dana Thomas reminds readers how Galliano and McQueen helped luxury fashion evolve from a clutch of small, family-owned businesses into a $280 billion-a-year global corporate industry. With their immense talent and magnetic personalities, they livened up musty brands with their daring, sexy aesthetic while new corporate leadership by financiers and business magnates expanded the business on every front. Luxury fashion became highly lucrative as well a major cultural force while designers became celebrities in their own right. The result was an insatiable appetite for more and more designs on increasingly rapid deadlines. For both Galliano and McQueen, the pace was unsustainable.

"Gods & Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano" is published by Penguin Press.

Other fashion-related works by Dana Thomas include New York Times bestseller "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster."

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