Thursday, April 29, 2010

Remembering McQueen

Of all the fashion designers that have glazed the glossy pages of fashion magazines and pushed models down  runways donning  their collection, the one that made a real impression on me was Alexander McQueen. While other members of the fashion and style industry were creating clothes, McQueen was creating fantasy.  So when I found out that he had passed away on February 11, 2010 I wondered if all my far out fashion dreams would die too.

I don't remember where I was exactly when I first learned of his existence, but I remember the picture and the feeling it gave me. The vogue magazine was featuring a spread of his gowns courtesy of Oscar night. I remember looking down and thinking, if these are clothes, what the heck have I been wearing all this time! It was the first time where the person behind the clothes mattered to me, and not just because I liked his clothes, I liked the presence the women in them portrayed.

Suddenly "femininity" had a new definition for me. It wasn't all pink bows and cute curls. It was confidence. And lets be honest, you have to be someone of great confidence to pull off some of the outlandish designs Alexander has put out over the years.

Alexander McQueen isn't just picky about the way he makes his clothes, but about who he lets showcase them on the runway. He tends to use models that are proudly gay or proud supporters. He himself was never shy about his sexuality calling himself a "big fat queer" in more than one of his interviews. And has admitted that he makes clothes with his lesbian friends in mind. But it wasn't because these women were gay that McQueen opted for them. They were confident.

They didn't necessarily have the type of beauty pinned on cover girl models, but when watching them walk down the runway their head turning potential surpassed most pretty faces. I wanted to be one of those models. To exude the same power and strength they did. Not because I was in a great designer but because I was doing something most designers don't give their customers permission to do--dress for themselves.  

Now the closest I've gotten to his clothes was being able to model a belt once for a fashion show. And at that time his name didn't mean anything to me. Now of course I'm screaming, "I modeled a McQueen!!!"

 To say Alexander is my only style inspiration is a unfair to everything else that moves me to dress the way I do. But he somehow gets me. For example, I am currently writing a novel series about celestial angels and demons. Something I started last fall. My characters attire is greatly inspired by Byzantine culture. Yesterday, I was browsing to see what the designers were coming out with for fall this year and saw that McQueen has nailed the fashions I imagine in my book. He also got some of his inspiration from Byzantine :)
Talk about a great fashion connection.

I morn the loss of a fashion king, and doubt anyone will truly be able to take over his empire, but in keeping his memory alive I will continue to dream and dress beyond the rack, beyond mainstream acceptance, and even beyond my own preconceived notions.


  1. One of the best reviews on McQueen, I will always miss him, he was one of my top inspirational designers. His work is his love made visible through his designs (like the quote from Kahlil Gibran).. I agree his talent was at a level too hard to be replaced. I hope he is in peace. Thank you!

  2. What a dedicated post. It's really touching and we will be missing him season after season.

    And, btw, trench coats will rule the world, ahah.