I always hate to bring up sad topics, but occasionally it seems appropriate to address a serious subject with you.
For those of you who follow fashion, last week the shock waves rippled through the fashion world with the sudden and untimely death of Alexander McQueen. He is without question one of our most talented designers, English, but well known in this country and internationally, with stores in New York and LA. He designed for both women and men, striking, beautifully cut and tailored clothes, both evening and sportswear. His evening gowns were nothing short of fabulous, magical creations, and his coats and suits for both men and women were exquisitely tailored. Even his blouses were beautiful.
He was the first designer to take over the haute couture collection of Givenchy, after Hubert de Givenchy retired. He was not ‘up and coming’, at a young age he was already there. And his fame was richly deserved.
His death was announced last Thursday, just as the Ready to Wear fashion show started as Fashion Week began in New York, and it hit everyone like a bomb. Death at a young age is always tragic, and by suicide even more so. Mr. McQueen took his own life. I am not privy to any inside information, and know only what I read in the press. As I understand it, his closest friend and muse also committed suicide a year ago. His mother died of an illness within days before his death. And who knows what other personal sorrows overwhelmed him. All I know is how hugely talented he was, and how much he will be missed by colleagues, even competitors, and those who knew him, and the lucky men and women who wore his clothes. The disappearance of a great talent is always a great loss, and the disappearance of another human being, particularly a young man, is a tragedy for us all. And suicide is so terrible for those who loved him. I can only wish them peace and healing now.
I have a number of wonderful things in my closet designed by him. Most recently, a pair of red patent leather high heeled shoes with a heart shaped cut out over the toes, that I bought to wear on Valentine’s Day. I have some lovely coats, jackets, and a great blouse I haven’t worn yet. My girls love his clothes too. My ex-husband bought two beautiful coats designed by him last fall. His clothes are wearable and very, very chic, and unique in their style. One recognizes quickly his designs.
The last two very grand evening gowns I wore were his. One, a spectacular red organza creation, with a tiny little red angora bolero sweater to go with it. I wore it in the fall of 2005 to a benefit of Elton John’s AIDS Foundation. That red dress is a show stopper that no one has forgotten. And the other was a sari style dress in a raspberry and gold sari fabric with tiny cap sleeves, criss cross in the back and hem of white gauze, which I wore to a gala event about a year ago for the Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. Both dresses are magical, and I will particularly cherish them now.
It is fitting to pay tribute to him. A number of years ago, we lost many young designers. I recently found in my closet dresses by Patrick Kelly and Stephen Sprouse, from the 70’s. So talented and so soon gone. McQueen was a giant among designers. He will be greatly missed for his remarkable designs, and even more so, we all grieve for a talent lost, and such a brightly lit candle much too soon snuffed out. May he be remembered long and dearly.