The fashion world has lost a rare gem. A designer who’s work was rarely clothing, but art. Each piece futuristic, yet primitive; architectural yet somehow ethereal.
Alexander McQueen was found dead in his apartment after allegedly killing himself on Feb. 11 at just 40 years old.
And the ricochet of that loss is still being felt throughout the fashion world, particularly at NY fashion week which launched the day of his death.
One of my favorite fashion bloggers Tavi, of Style Rookie pinned McQueen down in a zigzagging way that I find most fitting:
He consistently delivered collections of extravagant creativity, the type of stuff where you just look at it and try to absorb it and you can’t believe a person made this. Being lucky enough to glimpse into such an artist’s vision, and knowing that you can’t even imagine everything that was put into making it, and suddenly feeling so happy and joyful about humanity, and life, because, Jesus, a person made this..is incredibly uplifting. Very rarely are we blessed with a talent so strong and unparalleled and a passion so pure and driven.
And turning the pages retrospectively through each of McQueen’s awe-inspiring collections, one really does wonder: How is it possible that a mere mortal made these out-of-this-universe garments [if you can even call them that] and put them together in such a mind-blowing and innovative fashion?
In his world, McQueen was the ‘bad boy,’ the ‘oddity,’ the ‘conceptualist,’ always thinking up unthought of absurdities. But his title hardly ended at fashion designer. McQueen was a director, a visionary and, at the core, a show stopper.
He once put on a show where models, painted as demented clowns, perched atop carousel horses in a way that was innocent, yet also sinister. The show concluded with raunchy, clown girl pole dancing. McQueen was quoted afterwards in the UK Times saying: “I wanted to show the sinister child of childhood as well as the fun … We show children clowns as if they’re funny, they’re not.”
But that show was nothing out of the ordinary for McQueen, famous for dragging the fashionable elite to the most out of the way places, McQueen never put on a show that would slip anyone’s mind. In 1997 women stomped half-naked through a foot of water wearing wooden face cages and futuristic wigs. In 2005 models in girlish Edwardian couture were directed by radio signal across a giant chess board. Then there was the Fall 2009 collection, where twisted, giant-lipped gals marched around a mountain of rubble wearing chunky houndstooth with garbage can lids and umbrellas as headpieces.
In his most recent, and last original collection, Plato’s Atlantis for Spring/Summer 2010, McQueen was inspired by Darwinian theory and created garments that documented the evolution of species and his predicted ecological meltdown. Swirling cameras on the catwalk streamed the show live online.
For McQueen, absurdity was reality. He never left an idea undone. Every epiphany of his mind was executed on stage. He was a force of fashion and innovation that cannot and will not be replicated. One that will be unquestionably be remembered. For how could one ever forget?