The news of Alexander McQueen’s death came as a devastating blow to the fashion world after he was reported to have committed suicide just weeks before his new collection was to be revealed. Of all the news reporting his death there is nothing but glowing praise of the designers forward thinking, awe -inspiring and beautifully made designs and the public has responded in due fashion by rushing out to buy his pieces, his sales experiencing a 1400% increase most notably in his iconic silk scarves.
For McQueen fashion was all about pushing the boundaries. The clothes, often containing notions of the macabre entwined with historical and global themes ring true to his personality, describing himself as “in tune with my melancholic side.” As a designer he was fully immersed in the process. Training as a Saville Row tailor and going on to complete an MA at Central St Martins, he was an incredibly talented and competent designer, with a rare understanding of how to construct even the most complex of garments.
Although shying away from the culture of fame, the radical elements of clothing such as his bumster trousers in the nineties and sky-high heels in the noughties were championed celebrities up and down red carpets everywhere. His clothes may have been commercially successful but his mesmerizing shows were his true triumph, using unconventional models such as amputees and spectacles such as spray painting dresses live on stage, Embracing technology and always looking for new ways to bring the fashion show into the 21st century, one of his most famous involved screening a holographic Kate Moss into a giant pyramid on the catwalk in 2006.
However this frenetic and often superficial world was one in which McQueen felt increasingly isolated echoing the sentiment, “In the fashion industry, you finish one show and the your on the next, your only as good as your last show. Its relentless.”
As a fashion student, I am sad to think that when I pick up a magazine eagerly awaiting the new collections McQueen’s designs will no longer be there especially when there was so much left to see. In a recent, especially poignant article in Love magazine McQueen expresses his belief in the future of fashion, “When I’m dead, hopefully this house will still be going. On a spaceship. Hopping up and down above earth”
Whilst the future of the house seems uncertain without the enigmatic designer at the helm, whatever happens, McQueen has left a legacy that fashion will never forget.