Entertainment :: Books

The Asylum - A Collage Of Couture

by Bill Biss
Contributor
Tuesday Sep 3, 2013
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With forty years in the fashion business, Simon Doonan’s all-encompassing eye and skill has created countless eye-catching and thought-provoking artistic expressions in his capacity as the creative ambassador for Barney’s New York. His career has traveled from London to L.A. and from Paris to New York on a unique kaleidoscope of changing styles and practicalities in the past and present of a long line of design in "what’s new and what’s next?" His aforementioned experience and natural flair as a writer now transport him into the fractured and fabulous head of fashion with his insider’s look at the insanity of genius in the industry with "The Asylum."

Doonan’s sixth book offers up a deliciously observant collection of autobiographical recollections on fashion and the individualistic stamp of the icons that inhabit this world. As he puts it, "selling the esoteric, the fantastical and the wickedly fabulous" while sharing personal glimpses which dissect the "madness" of it all, when presented from his perspective. His combination of intuitive knowledge, sarcasm and wit create an insider’s runway of encounters and observations which create a jewel-encrusted madhouse of memories with many of the "class A" wardens of the fashion world.

As he sets the stage in the first chapter "Lipstick on Your Kneecaps," he presents a question of ownership rights to having the "one-up" on the insanity of the inhabitants of his cloistered world in clothing and design in comparison to a personal friend of his... who actually works in a mental hospital. This leads to a ribald discussion on the concept of sanity itself when it comes to creative license, temperament and the Napoleonic concept of "demented delusions of self-acknowledged grandeur" found often times outside of a padded cell of mental instability.

Fashionistas will find a kindred spirit, a smile and more often than not, an outright chuckle as he presents these individual chapters from his perspective in the confounding details of life and work experiences of hilarity and creative genius combined. It must be noted that when reading "The Asylum" there is a general necessity of knowledge necessary of the "names" and the history in the revolving aspects of fashion to appreciate Simon’s take and stake in the personas presented. Doonan not only has a distinct voice in elaborating on these true tales which have adorned his life... he is also not afraid to let loose with a few personal opinions which present a "voice of reason" or shall we say, "sane" opinion in what could be construed as an otherwise maddeningly chic world of excess and success.

"The Asylum"
Simon Doonan
Blue Rider Press/ The Penguin Group
$25.95

by Simon Doonan

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