An innovator both in the studio and on the catwalk, Alexander McQueen left his family, friends and fans much too early today at the young age of 41 - the same day he was slated to present his secondary line, McQ, as part of New York Fashion Week. It’s a sad day in the fashion community and the beloved designer will be missed.
Who else but McQueen could send gorgeous flowy frocks down the runway paired with alien, 10 inch hooved stilettos?
Maybe that’s the point. His fashion sense and talent seemed other-worldly. He was one of the first designers to truly put the “show” in fashion show, inventing theatrical special effects and holograms to delight and excite his audience, including spray-painted models, “volcanic” runways, snowstorms, and butterflies.
The first time McQueen made an impression on me was in 2000. He had just shown his spring/summer 2000 collection in New York and there was a review of it on CNN’s “Style with Elsa Klensch”.
There was such a buzz because he had a small shallow pool constructed on the runway and the models literally splished and splashed right through it — all in their ultra-expensive shoes and clothing as they sashayed down the catwalk!
These days that probably doesn’t sound shocking at all - but that’s only because McQueen’s pioneering spirit helped pave the way, carving a blueprint for the creative and theatrical fashion shows we know today.
McQueen’s creativity and vision were equally matched by his talent and skill. He was an impeccable tailor, no surprise considering he cut his teeth as an apprentice on Savile Row. He succeeded John Galliano as head designer at Givenchy in 1996 and after 5 years left to start his Alexander McQueen and McQ lines. Alexander (“Lee” as his friends called him) was a trailblazer who created beautifully structured designs with fluid, flattering details.
He also had a flair for the whimsical. Quite possibly a contributor to the emergence of the dreaded muffin-top, the “bumster” was introduced in 1996. These pants showcased the wearer’s assets to new highs—or lows. Then there was the scarf that launched a thousand copies. Remember when celebs like Nicole, Johnny and Kate were sporting those gauzy scarves with skull prints? Just another trend started by Alexander.
His influence is expansive and will live on in the hearts of those who loved and admired him. So the next time you appreciate a bold, beautiful design – or a show-stopping, sensational fashion show - think of the much-loved Lee McQueen.