Goodbye To All That: RIP Mr. McQueen

February 12, 2010 • Fashion


How do you say goodbye to a legend? No one raised the creative bar quite as high or elevated fashion to an art quite like Alexander McQueen. From the beginning when he burst onto the scene, labeled as a provocateur with the goal of challenging the fashion cognoscenti’s expectations, to his last show in Paris on October 6th 2009 when he said “really, what I’m aiming for is world domination!”, Alexander was one of the greatest.

In spite or perhaps because of his demons, Alexander did conquer the fashion world. Whether you loved or hated his designs, there was no denying his talent or his ability to make you think. With McQueen, indifference was impossible. His clothes were never simply pretty or elegant, they were the kind of pieces that told a story – one that could be beautiful, darkly enthralling, whimsical, disturbing, sensual, romantic, or downright sinister – or all of the above.

The McQueen man and woman are dangerously glamorous, sublimely wicked characters – wearing McQueen meant making a statement, one that said “I dare you to look away from me.” His are clothes to conquer the world in, even his most graceful gowns had that innovative edge lurking just underneath the surface. He was also one of the few designers who could reference the past in way that was both historically accurate and utterly futuristic (a tribute to his Saville Row training).

On a personal level, I can’t believe I’ll never see another new McQueen collection. His were always the shows I looked forward to, just for the chance to live in his world for a few moments. It is designers like him that I dreamed about a career myself; there was something pure and joyful in all his work, even the pieces with darker elements. In fact, his own dark side was very close to the surface and present in his work, which made it that much more compelling.

So rest in peace, Alexander. I like to picture you having champagne with Isabella Blow and Elsa Schiaperelli in heaven, whipping up creations that angels would envy and mere mortals could only imagine. Let’s all raise a glass of champagne this weekend in his honor!

—Jacqueline Zenn


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