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The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris [Kindle Edition]

Alicia Drake
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* The relationship between hedonism and decay and the understanding of excess as creative consumption are themes central to this glittering exegesis. Drake conducted more than 100 interviews in her scrupulous chronicle of fashion's most illustrious rivalry. Yves Saint Laurent, the charmed genius of effortless success, and Karl Lagerfeld, the patrician workhorse, engaged in a decades-long competition for hyperbolic headlines and jet-set celebrity, pitting their cliques against each other in bitch-slap feuds of sartorial splendor. Theirs is a world of glorious, hideous self-involvement, where heroin is an accessory, violent political unrest is an evening's amusement, and a close friend's suicide is, foremost, a contemptible blemish on an orchestrated image. Drake's subjects made their livings and their names dedicating themselves to the pursuit of surface perfection, and her comprehensive examination of their barbed, parallel arcs is appropriately superficial. These titanic designers crafted their personas as carefully as they put together their luxurious collections, and we come to know them as reflections in the mirror houses they built. Although their individual aesthetics and personal recriminations are unique, they are united in the opulent glory of their narcissistic myopia. Ultimately, Drake makes a good case for the extraordinary nature of their individual achievements and the revolutionary effect of their competitive energy on the fashion industry. And yet we're left with a portrait defined more by the careful craft of its brushstrokes than by the substance of the sitters. Thomas Barthelmess
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


'In this fascinating read, Drake reveals the fashion industry's constant flux between in and out, right and wrong, and how Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld trod a rivalrous tightrope' Glamour 'This is an extremely readable and impressively researched book' Guardian 'If you have the slightest interest in late-twentieth-century culture, you should read this book' Gay Times 'Thoroughly entertaining ... Starting with the student riots of 1968 and ending with the shadow of Aids, this is an important social history' Independent on Sunday


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5.0 von 5 Sternen Unglaublich! 30. September 2013
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Die Geschichte, welche hier offengelegt wird, geht weiter, als jedes Fashionmagazin. Erzählt wird die Geschichte von Yves Saint Laurent und Karl Lagerfeld und wie sie sich ihre Lebensläufe im Laufe der Jahre immer wieder kreuzten - sowohl im beruflichen als auch im privaten. Man gewinnt ein Verständnis wie und warum die beiden wohl so wurden wie sie sind bzw. waren. Für jeden, der sich bei Mode mehr als nur für die Schnitte interessiert, sehr zu empfehlen.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Erstaunlich gut geschrieben 9. September 2015
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Mode ist nicht mein vorderstes Interessengebiet, das Buch habe ich eher spontan aus einer Laune heraus gekauft und war sehr überrascht, wie pointiert, rhythmisch und klug es geschrieben wurde. Es ist leicht und substantiell gleichermaßen und umso mehr, da es thematisch um vermeintliche Oberflächlichkeiten geht, eine beachtliche Leistung.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen What a book! 27. September 2007
Dieses Buch ist eines der Besten, das ich in letzter Zeit gelesen habe. Ich kann einfach nicht mehr aufhören und würde mir wünschen, es hätte tausend Seiten. Einfach total gut geschrieben. Vielen Dank Alicia Drake. Thanks a lot Alicia
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Amazon.com: 4.4 von 5 Sternen  48 Rezensionen
22 von 22 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Fascinating Portrait of Two Fashion Legends and the Forces that Shaped Them 16. Februar 2007
Von Claire Calladine - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The Beautiful Fall is a fascinating view into the Paris fashion scene during the intensely creative and revolutionary period of the 60's and 70's (and beyond). The book concentrates on fashion as lived by the rival camps of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, but its scope is much broader. Throughout a narrative that reads as compellingly as fiction, the author analyzes the socio-cultural events that shaped the Paris fashion world. Drake astutely pays homage to the symbiotic realtionship fashion has always had with society. She also taps into the fashion world's neuroses in all their terrifying glory: Saint Laurent's and Lagerfeld's ongoing fear of being outdone by the other; YSL's battles with his own creative demons; the manic way in which Lagerfeld surrounds himself with an everchanging fashion coterie that fuels his own creativity.

Drake's writing style is fluid, with her prose as rich and elegant as the world she depicts. Turning the pages of the book, one can see, taste and feel the luxe accoutrements that are the lot of fashion royalty: the sumptuous residences, the sit-down dinners for a hundred, the plush privelige of a chauffered limousine. Yet Drake also opens a door to the down side of fashion--the wounded egos as entourage members are cut loose, the heinous drug hangovers after all night parties at Le Palace, or the letdown of a fashion season fallen flat, when an anticipated collection is panned or ignored.

Class, too, is an overriding theme. The weight of the aristocracy is evoked, with its crushing confines of hierarchy and tradition. Overwhelming, too, are the shackles of design superstardom as Saint Laurent cracks under the weight of his own legend, his genius solicited season after season by a voracious Ready-to-Wear industry churning out clothes for the masses. YSL's torturous decades of self doubt are unflinchingly rendered as he struggles not only against drug and alcohol demons, but also to compete against the fashion standard he himself has set in his prolific early years. For as the author points out, it is every designer's damning quest to not only further their own body of work, but to create something new.

The Lagerfeld saga is given equal billing. Karl's veritable style assault on the industry over decades--the creation of tens of thousands of designs for dozens of labels--culminating in his triumph at Chanel--is an unparalleled tour de force in the design world. As Drake describes it, one can't help but feel that no man has poured more of himself into fashion than Lagerfeld, bringing not only a manic drive but a Renaissance Man's arsenal of knowledge, culture, and plain old street savvy. With the advent of youth-driven social forces like Rock music, MTV, and the rise of the supermodels, fashion became in fashion, and no-one has milked it more or used it to better advantage than Lagerfeld. The fact that Lagerfeld is actually taking the book to court in France (citing invasion of privacy) is unfortunate. Drake's portrait of both men is unflinching but not unflattering; it is fascinating, and above all, human.

Given the multiple tales of excess chronicled within, some might try to pass off the book as exploitative journalism or a cheap kiss-and-tell narrative. The book is neither. The Beautiful Fall is an astutely written, brilliant portrait of a history-making period in fashion that will forever stand as testimony to those tumultuous times. It is a must-read for anyone professing a serious interest in fashion.
16 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Must-read for anyone even remotely interested in fashion 7. April 2007
Von Glenn Belverio - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I have been a fashion writer for about 10 years and this is absolutely one of the best fashion biographies I've read since perhaps DV by Mrs. Vreeland. The Beautiful Fall is beautifully written--a richly detailed account of Paris in the 50's through 80's packed with fashion and Parisian history, insight, and delicious gossip and scandal. You'll feel like you're there at the party and front row at shows that took place long before the televised mania over fashion began in America in the early '90s. Fabulous photos, as well.
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen a BEAUTIFUL book 26. Oktober 2006
Von Caroline Weber - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Like Alicia Drake, I write on fashion, but the comparisons end there, as Drake, who is superlatively gifted author, truly exists in a league all her own. Her treatment of this gripping topic--fashion-world excesses and catfights in 1970s Paris--is nothing short of excellent: astonishingly well researched, fascinatingly detailed, and wonderfully readable. THE BEAUTIFUL FALL is a must-have for anyone who cares about clothing, or Paris, or just plain terrific writing.
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Stunning Evocation of Stars and Decade 22. Mai 2007
Von KI Berens - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Fashion is not a particular interest of mine; but after I heard Alicia Drake talk at the LA Times Festival of Books, I bought her bio and dove in. The Beautiful Fall is the most exciting book I've read in the last six months at least. It's a page turner, a rhapsody of sensory indulgence. Her evocations of the clothes demonstrate why she's a sought-after fashion journalist--I could see these collections, feel the fabrics, hear the pulsating music at the runway show, smell the truckloads of flowers YSL had sent from Paris to his country manor in Normandie.

You don't have to know much about fashion to be captivated by her ying-yang portrayal of YSL and Lagerfeld. The book bristles with details, the entourages sauntering off the page and into an array of dazzling parties that are so characteristic of the 70s zeitgeist.

The rivalries, the sumptuous locales, the music and drugs and personalities--it's all here. If you want an escape from the quotidian--read this book.
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Intriguing & Excellent Reportage 4. Januar 2007
Von Elizabeth Dudley - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This book is a great read, and is an intensely intriguing tale of social history and personality in the context of the fashion world. The reportage is very credible and well documented. The approach and the narrative in just the right tone so that one reads for twenty pages and is totally engrossed before lifting one's head for a cup of tea. Too bad that the French have exercised censorship in a most undemocratic maneuver and banned it from being sold there. There is a lot of ugliness in the fashion world as emodied in several characters and events in this true story. Yet the narrative of a time with different cross currents interacting in fashion, style, industry & culture is intriguing and educational.
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