#1086 My Alexander McQueen piece for the NZ Herald

It’s been a crazy morning. I was woken at about 8:00am by my phone, which was buzzing with three messages simultaneously – an email, a text message and a BBM, all of which were telling me to wake up, because Alexander McQueen had died. The text message was from Eveline Jenkin, Online Life and Style Editor of the NZ Herald, asking me to write a piece for them about the designer’s passing. I did as much research in as short a time as possible, and the article is up on the Herald website now. Apologies if my initial report on the death (my previous post) sounded a little callous, I was in a daze and trying to get things done as quickly as I could. I never met Alexander McQueen, nor did I have the chance to attend any of his shows, but it really was an honour to be asked to write about his life and death. You can read my Herald piece below.

Fashion blogger Isaac Hindin Miller on the death of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

A tragedy for the fashion industry – British fashion designer Alexander McQueen was found dead in his Central London flat at 10am yesterday morning (11pm last night NZST), on the eve of his mother’s funeral.

The timesonline is reporting that the designer hanged himself.

The news comes as a huge shock to the fashion world, which, at this moment, has just completed day one of New York Fashion Week.

Many received word via Twitter during the BCBG Max Azria show, and Anna Wintour is said to have simply stood up and walked out while the show was still running.

McQueen’s diffusion line McQ was to be presented in New York today, but this has since been cancelled.

Press statements, condolences and tributes have flooded the internet from celebrities, editors, models and other designers, with Twitter being the platform of choice for many.

This from Anna Wintour: “We are devastated to learn of the death of Alexander McQueen, one of the greatest talents of his generation. He brought a uniquely British sense of daring and aesthetic fearlessness to the global stage of fashion. In such a short career, Alexander McQueen’s influence was astonishing – from street style, to music culture and the world’s museums. His passing marks an insurmountable loss.”

And from Twitter: @TyraBanks – “RIP Alexander McQueen. so so sad. such a huge loss. He was one of my favorite designers. He will be missed.”

@MrJoeZee – “R.I.P. Alexander McQueen, a kind soul and brillant creative genius. Sad and shocking. You’ve touched us all.”

@RzRachelZoe – “I cant describe the tragic loss of such a brilliant man and designer Alexander McQueen..R.I.P xoRZ”

@DitaVonTeese – “Rest in peace, Mr. McQueen.”

The news comes just one month before McQueen was to present his follow-up collection to possibly his most well-received show to date last October, which included the highest possible reptillian heels. The collection was famously worn by Lady Gaga in her Bad Romance video clip.

Hours before word of his death circulated, Lady Gaga had this to say about McQueen: “He is so, he is on his own planet, he doesn’t need to respond to trends, or what anyone else is doing. He is so pure and from within and I, he just generally inspires me … and I love when I can wear his clothes and sort of synthesise for my fans what it means to me, because I want them to escape through his clothes the way that I do,” she told CNN.

Born to an East End taxi driver in 1969, Alexander McQueen began his tailor’s apprenticeship on Savile Row at the age of 16.

A notorious bad-boy, it is said that he once sewed profanities into the jacket of HRH Prince Charles, a regular client.

McQueen’s graduate collection was bought in its entirety by stylist Isabella Blow, who became a close friend and mentor to the designer. She later took her own life in 2007.

After replacing John Galliano in the top spot at Givenchy in 1996, McQueen’s eponymous line was bought by the Gucci Group in 2000, and he quit Givenchy just three months later.

The designer was well known for his theatrics and showmanship, and his final womenswear show at Paris Fashion Week last October was one of the first fashion shows to be live streamed online – now, seemingly, the biggest trend in fashion.

At New York Fashion Week, Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Rodarte and Alexander Wang (among others) will live stream their shows online.

New Zealand model Stella Maxwell was the face of McQueen’s last lookbook which showcased his Autumn-Winter 2009-2010 collection.

After his mother’s death just 10 days ago on February 2, McQueen took to his Twitter account: “i’m letting my followers know the my mother passed away yesterday if it she had not me nor would you RIP mumx.”

He later added, “but life must go on!” Then, “sunday evening been a f****** awful week but my friends have been great but now i have to some how pull myself together…”

Rumours are currently circulating that the Alexander McQueen show will go ahead on schedule at Paris Fashion Week, on Tuesday, March 9. No doubt, the most fitting send-off to a man whose best work was done in a 10- to 15-minute presentation on the catwalk.

Fellow designer Karl Lagerfeld’s sobering tribute read thus: “In [McQueen’s] work, he always flirted with death. We don’t know the reasons but it’s proof that success and talent alone are not enough to make someone happy. But there was always a little dehumanised side in his work, I found. Like a sort of detachment from the world and reality.

“Fashion is like that… If you don’t have a solid stomach and your head screwed on, you are exposed to anxieties, to things like that.”

RIP Lee Alexander McQueen.

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  1. Anonymous says

    Not to be a hater, and I get that you were rushed to do this. But this can’t even really be considered an article, it’s just bullet points, like pulling information form wikipedia and concatenating it.

  2. Kate says

    Sadly that is pretty much what standard journalistic practice is these days. If you look at most other news articles on the Herald site, you’ll see writing in bullet point form is just how they seem do things

  3. says

    isn’t it funny how all the bitchy comments come from people too scared to post under their own identity. This is a sad day and all you can do is pick pick pick.
    Get a life bitches.

  4. Anonymous says

    Don’t really see how either of those comments were bit*y Craig? You should take a look at the recent comments on the Brain Slavez post and see what a bit*hy comment really is. You are overly sensitive I think. Isaac can handle some constructive criticism, which is all these comments have been.

  5. says

    I think you’ll find the comments re Brainslave were more childish than bitchy.

    If you don’t have the balls to identify yourself I really don’t see the point in continuing this thread.

    Go back and hide behind a rock, a pseudonym or anonymity.

  6. Koji says

    Couldnt agree with the first comment more!I was expecting a really good article because I consider you a great writer Isaac,but this seems like the first draft of a year 8 essay about the life of McQueen,all wiki’d out,I think the man deserved better than this!!

  7. Kate says

    Just wanted to add I wasn’t criticising Isaac at all, I thought his article was great considering time pressures etc.
    I was trying to point out that the article’s style is what editors seems to expect/prefer these days for some reason.

  8. Anonymous says

    Craig you are missing the point and taking this personally, for reasons unknown, No one is attacking you, yet you are attacking others, and using the fact that you have taken the time to set up a blogger profile as some kind of badge of merit. What’s up with that?

  9. Anonymous says

    I agree with first point BUT it’s easy to write super brilliantly on a tight timeframe with an editor breathing down your neck. Very few people can write at all under these circumstances which is why most don’t – thank goodness.

    Most people can’t write at the best of times. Those that do put themsleves on the line and up for criticism. And they get it. I do. Most of the time I don’t reallly care though. I thought Noelle wrote well about it today in The Herald.

    That is the nature of online journalism – it is immediate. If you want soomething more considered – buy The New Yorker. Locally the equivalent WOULD have been Metro….but I can’t say that anymore. It reads more like online journalism and IT shouldn’t!

    And….remember Isaac was probably writing through his tears. That’s hard too.

  10. Leonie says

    Hey people. Get a grip. This is about the death of a man with untold talent and you’re rabbiting on about text types?

  11. says

    isaac is giving us information on what happened, and he’s not being insensitive in doing so. there’s no problem.

    anyway, the lagerfeld quote is really good… i only saw part of it before, but now that i’m seeing the whole thing, he actually has a very interesting perspective on mcqueen

  12. Anonymous says

    Honestly, this piece reads like it was written by someone who has no personal perspective on Alexander McQueen. Don’t you Isaac?! Isn’t that why they got you to write it, and didn’t ask an intern to pull together what fashion celebs said on Twitter? A bit disappointing.

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