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.