As design after design floats across runways around the globe, the world still reels from the death of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. It has been more than 10 days since McQueen’s untimely passing but I felt it would be appropriate to reflect upon his contributions to the fashion world.
McQueen was a pioneer in the fashion industry. He was able to seamlessly meld tough, Gothic motifs with soft feminine elements. The effect is nothing short of ethereal. When he exhibited his spring 2010 collection he said, “I’ve always been fascinated by the Victorian period of death where they used to take pictures of the dead.” I remember my first encounter with Alexander McQueen’s designs in the pages of Vogue when I was about 15 years old. The designs conjured up mental images of a trunk forgotten in an attic– the decaying lace of an old wedding gown. Victorian. Macabre. Brilliant.
McQueen’ was outspoken both in his design and in his wit. My favorite anecdote is that he famously sewed obscenities into a coat he designed for Prince Charles. His fall 2009 collection was surrealist in nature with latex smears for a mouth and Escher-esque tessellations running across structured conical dresses.
His most recent collection, Spring Ready-to-wear 2010, entailed structured mini dresses, surreal shoes, snake-skin patterns, and Lady Gaga glitz.
McQueen was able to beautifully and artfully meld fashion and technology. Take this hologram of Kate Moss gracing the runway and stunning the audience in 2006:
This show featured an automobile robot spray-painting a model on a rotating platform
With regards to mainstream success, we can thank McQueen for low-rise jeans, skull print scarves, and Lady Gaga’s envelope-pushing fashion.
In an ever-evolving industry, the fashion world will move on in the aftermath of loss. Alexander McQueen, however, provided designs that transcend the trend.