I wasn’t exactly sure who Alexander McQueen was. I learned about his genius when I learned about his death. I don’t really have much to say other than I can’t fathom the level of pain one must be in to find the motivation to end one’s life. I also ponder why so many creative geniuses and brilliant contributors to the world end up gone too soon while the streets remain filled with knuckleheads.
McQueen went to Central St. Martins which I think, is sort of the “Parsons” of England. Witnessing a list of those who studied there would support the assumption. It has spawned scores of brilliant artists through the years. While those who follow women’s fashion have already assembled scores of tributes to McQueen, my motivation for also recognizing him is manifest in an email from a friend of mine in England who went to school with him at Central St. Martins. Here it is…..
“His shows were nothing short of performance art. You can see a lot on YouTube -Shalom Harlow and the paint spray and the 2007Kate moss hologram thing. He did a few shows in glass boxes, one with the models walking round in a snow storm and another with the models amongst lots of butterflies. He famously used Aimee Mullins-a model with no legs below the knees and had her walking in the most beautiful carved boots…
He got a lot of stick for that but his reasons for doing so were to challenge the fashion industry, he once complained "it (fashion) is about the beautiful people all of the time" . He used to be very self-conscious about his own unprepossessing looks; he was not very handsome, overweight and bad posture. I remember seeing him at college (our print technician used to do his prints and we used to help) he always wore jeans, a jumper and sneakers he was very soft spoken and didn't want to draw attention to himself. He was one of those people who notice everything. He hadn't had much formal education, his huge knowledge of art and history was self-taught and he was passionate about those things.
His shows were about his ideas and concepts. It's very easy to say so many of his clothes are unwearable but the show clothes rarely made it out of the studio in their runway incarnation. He was brilliant at translating those concepts into wearable clothes that went into the shops. His cutting techniques are extraordinary as were his sensitivity to the fabric; the way he used print, the way he used leather. He was in another league”.
R.I.P. Lee McQueen