After bottling lighting and infusing it into the Rodeo Drive retail brands of Nasty Gal and #Girlboss, Sophia Amoruso repeats this feat with Nasty Galaxy (Putnam, $37). Comprised, in part, of fashion + interior design, photography, recipes, and profiles on glam punk, riot grrrl, womanist icons (Patti Smith, Tura Santana, Pam Grier, Siouxie Sioux), Nasty Galaxy thrives on free association as Amoruso charts a cosmology of kick-ass. Each of the twelve chapters, appended to a corresponding astrological sign, is heralded by the artwork of an iconic album cover, featuring artists such as Bauhaus, Betty Davis, and David Bowie. This luminous volume, swathed in a hot pink cloth cover, reads like a hypnotic Instragram feed, or an analog version of your favorite Tumblr/Pintrest board. Accordingly, its additional featured lists and assorted quotes pop like memes on the lustrous pages of its square folio, including one attributed to the oft black-clad rocker, Joan Jett—“I Don’t Look Good In Beige.” Immersed in defiant style and self-assuring swagger, Nasty Galaxy will lighten moods and brighten any room.
Six years after his passing, Alexander McQueen remains one of the world’s iconic designers. His revolutionary fashions were both shocking and impressive, from the “bumsters” of his debut 1993 collection to the bloody rendition of his Scottish heritage in the controversial Highland Rape show. Alexander McQueen: Unseen (Yale, $65), by Robert Fairer, brings us a little closer to McQueen’s earliest runway shows, which, dating to pre-social media years, were difficult to see. In this rich book of images, Fairer, a backstage photographer for Vogue, replicates the experience of each and every Alexander McQueen runway. He briefly describes the context, the atmosphere, the sounds, and the lights of each show, then transports us to a front-row runway seat, telling us what it was like to actually be there and see McQueen’s work first-hand. The photographs are vibrant and expressive; with details from old film negatives, Fairer juxtaposes one picture against another, mimicking the action of the runway. He intersperses full-frontal fashion shots with varied angles and backstage views of the models laughing together with makeup smeared over their eyelids. This book is a gorgeous tribute to McQueen’s artistry and theatre and a perfect addition to any fashion lover’s bookshelf.