I wanted to wait until the hoopla surrounding his death had simmered down a bit before making a post. Alexander (Lee) McQueen was and still is one of my favorite designers. I literally cried when I heard the news on February 11, 2009; ironically the first day of Fashion Week. I didn’t cry because I knew him personally, but because he was inspiring. An inspiration to all us weird, quirky kids who weren’t exactly the coolest growing up because of our oddness; however we had an obessession with being creative.
His garments were like no-other; always twenty steps ahead of everyone else and completely outside the box. You know that trendy motorcycle jacket everyone’s been wearing lately? Yeah, McQueen had one ripping the runway back in Fall 2008.
Bloggers and publications have stated that McQueen may have committed suicide due to the loss of his close friend and mother. Renowned fashion editor Isebella Blow was not only a friend, but his mentor. When she committed suicide in 2007, McQueen was crushed; devoting an entirely separate collection and show to her. In 2008, it seemed he had begun to move on; moving into a new home, ending a long-term relationship, and telling Vogue he had “never been happier”. Until the death of his mother at the beginning of last month; just days before he took his own life. Those in the industry close to him have said they did not see anything signaling any suicidal thoughts. I have stated to friends that we should have known something was wrong when there wasn’t a Pre-Fall collection.
McQueen was so innovative and “experimental”, his next move was to try to create holograms that would allow anyone anywhere to view his collections in three dimensions. Beginning his career as a young apprentice in London, McQueen applied to become a cutting tutor at Central Saint Martins. Recognizing his talent, the administrators suggested he enroll as a student- Isabella Blow bought his thesis collection two years later. At age 27, McQueen became head designer at Givenchy, but left for the Gucci group after stating LVMH constricted his creativity.
And we all know how wide his ideas can stretch. Runways covered in water, snow, robots, and any other unbelievable concoction one can think of. The following images are from my favorite collection of McQueen’s, RTW Fall 2009; the runway is made of broken mirrors, equip with barbwire. Critiques and those at the show were appalled by the images of the models and their faces, but the clothes are amazing and honestly the odd make-up compels me to look.
Always the one to set trends and not follow them, McQueen was my fave because of that fact. Not caring what anyone thought and still added passion to every garment he created. Researching his inspiration for collections was also apparent; one could see when he completely engulfed himself in his creations. We will never know the exact reason as to why or what triggered Alexander McQueen to take his own life, but the fashion industry will continue to celebrate the life of the most forward-thinking designer and he will truly be missed. ~C.M.
Check out McQueen’s final collection: Spring 2010. I’ve literally watched this show over 26 times.
On March 9, 2009, WWD reported and showcased McQueen’s last pieces created for Fall 2009. See the article and looks here: WWD McQueen Fall 2009