Super cool movie star Steve McQueen was without a doubt one of the most stylish men of all time. As we've noted in the past, his rugged sportiness, authentic masculinity and innate good taste have inspired countless fashion designers, not to mention scores of other actors who followed in his wake. McQueen fans of all sorts have a lot to celebrate this summer: there are two major new books on the "King of Cool" coming out, as well as a special McQueen tribute edition Ford Mustang, while the star's famous 1970 Porsche, worth an estimated $2 million, is going up for auction.
The first book just went on sale: Steve McQueen: A Life in Pictures edited by Yann Brice Dherbier (Pavilion, $40). The mix of classic and less well-known images of the style icon is artfully put together, but what struck us most about the book was its large format, showing details that you just don't get in smaller versions (see the gallery for a preview). For instance, in this cover image you can clearly see that McQueen is wearing a classic Baracuta jacket from England - which by the way are still sold here at Ben Silver in Charleston, one of the best men's clothiers in the country.
Equally striking and noticeable due to the impressive scale are the identifiable images which have clearly influenced designers like Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors who have built whole collections and ad campaigns around the King of Cool. Lauren in particular is a well-known McQueen fanatic. The index to Michael Gross' brilliant biography of the designer, Genuine Authentic, contains no less than six separate entries for the actor.
Gross writes that Lauren staged shoots based on McQueen's movies - his favorite film is said to be 1968's The Thomas Crown Affair - sometimes with himself in the starring role, and hung photos of the actor in both his houses and stores. If you look closely enough at the photos in Dherbier's book and compare them to Lauren's designs you can see where he copied sweaters, jackets, details on suits, even the carelessly elegant way McQueen always wore his clothes.
The other book, Unforgettable Steve McQueen hasn't been published yet - we'll update you on that when the time comes - but it features a foreword by another McQueen wannabe: Brad Pitt. We'd say he's making a good start at filling the King of Cool's shoes, but he's got a ways to go yet.
Gallery: Endless McQueen Summer