On 16 September 2019, guests gathered for the launch of photographer Craig McDean's book, Manual. Co-hosted by Byredo's creative director Ben Gorham, McDean and Edward Enniful, the event was held in the new Byredo store. A luxurious three-story 1885 building, the store mirrors the glamour prevalent in Manual. This is McDean's fourth book, comprising unseen images of automobiles and fashion photography.
Manual is McDean's curated version of Americana. His obsession with automobiles grew from a childhood spent near a racetrack. He would later go on to train as a car mechanic, before releasing his first book I Love Fast Cars (1999), which depicts drag racing across America. In comparison to I Love Fast Cars, the photographs in Manual are largely depopulated; the cars become their own entities. In Manual an attitude defined by sensuality and excitement unites cropped images of wheels, car bodies and female breasts – just visible under clothes. McDean knows cars as well as the models he depicts. 'Here it is: the suggestion of sex, danger, desire, and speed that is so polarizing - erotically charged for some, problematic for others ... In close proximity, the images reinvent one another', states Lisa Naftolin.
During the launch event, McDean wore a blue canvas jacket reminiscent of those worn by 1960s gas station attendants. Mesh caps, encased in glass displays, read 'McDEAN MANUAL BYREDO'. All designed by Gorham and McDean, T-shirts, zippo lighters, beer can sleeves and silk scarves are also available in-store, with some designs exclusive to London.
Manual is published by Rizzoli, on 24 September 2019.