The Lost Letters Of William Woolf
By Helen Cullen and published in hardback by Michael Joseph is available now. Wannabe writer William Woolf works in the Dead Letters Depot where he spends his days trying to track down the intended recipients of letters and parcels which have gone astray. The detective work distracts him from his writer's block and ailing marriage, but letters from a mysterious woman to her 'Great Love' make him see the world anew. William becomes infatuated with a woman he has never seen or met, while his relationship with wife Clare reaches breaking point before either of them has realised how big the cracks have become. Cullen brings William, Clare and their unhappiness vividly to life while letter-writing romantic Winter is quirky and enigmatic, yet always believable. It's a strong debut from Cullen, an Irish writer living in London, although Winter's letters can sometimes be a little too long and slow down the pace of the story. Cullen's great strength, however, is the way she writes so movingly about how day to day life can chip away at a once solid relationship until it crumbles. 7/10 Review by Beverley Rouse By Damon Smith Available from Oct 15 on Amazon and from Oct 22 on DVD.
Starring: Alexander McQueen, Isabella Blow, Detmar Blow, Jodie Kidd, Kate Moss, Michelle Olley.
Born and raised in the London borough of Stratford, Lee Alexander McQueen was a tortured genius of working-class origins who challenged the fashion establishment with his catwalk shows influenced by death, depravity and violence.
He was a defiantly original yet heartbreakingly fragile voice in a rarefied world that didn't always understand or appreciate his bold ambitions.
The press labelled him a misogynist for his 1995 Highland Rape collection, which draped torn Scottish tartans over bruised models, who staggered down the runway as if they had just been assaulted backstage.
Mesmerising documentary McQueen charts the rise of the openly gay trailblazer from his awkward teenage years, through an enduring friendship with mentor Isabella Blow and a controversial appointment as lead designer of Parisian fashion house Givenchy.
Archive footage and recollections from mentors - McQueen listened obsessively to Sinead O'Connor, confides Red Or Dead's John McKitterick - are intermingled with the designer's personal testimony about his craft and a penchant for shocking his audience.
Key collections and catwalk shows are meticulously dissected, including the 1999 ready-to-wear collection which culminated in model Shalom Harlow posing on a revolving wooden platform as two robot arms sprayed her strapless white dress with streaks of yellow, green and black paint.
"You don't move forward if you play safe," McQueen professes.
His drug-fuelled battles with personal demons are illustrated in tearful confessions from close collaborators although there is a curious absence on-screen of exhusband George Forsyth.
Ian Bonhote and Peter Ettedgui's artfully staged biography is a beautifully tailored tribute to a man who irrevocably changed the trajectory of British fashion. Rating: **** RELEASED