This stunning showcase of costumes from videos, tours, special performances and appearances on the red carpet, traces Kylie's extraordinary career. Whether showgirl, sex symbol, businesswoman, gay icon, singer, actress or songwriter, Kylie adheres to the fashion values and philosophies established by the classic stars of Hollywood, both on and off-screen. With forewords by Barry Humphries and Baz Luhrmann and an introduction by William Baker, Kylie's creative director and stylist, this is a wonderful record of Kylie's unique image. From the cute girl next door ("I Should Be So Lucky", 1989) to the sexy confidence of "Better the Devil You Know" (1990), through the cheeky ghetto disco of "Spinning Around" (2000) to the electro futurism of "Can't Get You Out of My Head" (2001), her styling evokes myriad fantasy worlds. The book features close-up photography of each costume alongside contextual photographs of Kylie in action and original sketches. The sequins, crystals and metres of fabric exist as a glittering reminder of a modern-day fairytale, a girl from Melbourne who seduced the world.
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We hardly need to be reminded about who Kylie is, or of a certain Aussie soap or of forsaking that perm for a successful music career with some of the music industry's notables. Paradoxically, it's precisely because we don't need to be told any of these things that the latest incarnation of Kylie exists: Kylie the book.
Kylie, as compiled by music journalist Chris Heath, takes you beyond the career of Ms Minogue (her fame renders the surname obsolete) exploring her transformation into an icon of the last decade. In contrast to its subject, Kylie the book is huge. The iconographic aspect is immediately enforced by the cover; a wrist band on the diminutive arm emblazoned with the bearer's name. Slipping the book out from its bullet-proof box, you're confronted with a tome in "camped-up" pink, ruched fabric but it's only on closer examination that you realise the texture is a result of the embossed text contained later in the book.
A stunning array of images visually maps out the many transformations Kylie has undergone at the hands of stylists, artists and photographers. In addition to photographs there are beautiful illustrations and video "grabs", even a life-size Kylie photocopy. Kylie give us Kylie at her coyest, at her most naked, as a key ring, a phone card, a gay icon, a badge and a bumper sticker. There's even a colour chart that looks like it hails from the Dulux range until you realise that the colours and their names are allied to every part of the Kylie body.
The written contributions reflect the diversity of the images. The insightful opening piece by William Baker maps out the human fascination for the image over and above the reality--plotting this trend back to 18th-century Christianity. Seemingly nothing changes. Other contributions from notables including Julie Burchill, Nick Cave, Boy George, Elton John and Shirley Manson are elegant and lucid in equal measure.
This should be the last word on Kylie, but it won't be, we know her well. She'll shed this skin alongside all the others and there'll have to be another book to reflect that, then another Kylie, then another book. It doesn't matter though. It's what she wants and at the end of the day, it's what we want too. --Tony MartinReview:
`Gorgeous book' -- Woman & Home, 2007
`What more could any fan want? *****' -- Heat, 2007
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