"I want to create pieces that can be handed down, like an heirloom."
- Lee Alexander McQueen
It's certainly no secret that I have a strong admiration for Lee Alexander McQueen and the design house he left behind. I recently picked up a copy of Judith Watt's ALEXANDER MCQUEEN THE LIFE AND LEGACY, a beautifully written biography told through the seasons of Fashion. The text includes a foreword written by close friend Daphne Guinness and is incredibly detailed and well documented. Of all the published material I've read about McQueen's life, this work by far seems the most intimate and captivating. I'm not sure what took so long for this book to come my way.
McQueen was a brilliant Fashion designer who often took his cues from the unconventional. His ability to merge themes of death with romance, love and melancholy, and history with religion was nothing short of amazing. WATT skillfully recorded his life of artistic collaborations, personal struggles, and perhaps most importantly, his exceptional talent displayed in the runway show.
There is a vast difference between the common, traditional runway show and what McQueen produced. His shows were more than shows, they were dreams. They were visions. McQueen could have just as easily sent models down a plain, uninspired runway and the clothes and craftsmanship could have stood on their own. But, he didn't. He chose to do more. His more is what gives his body of work an impact increased tenfold. The elaborately constructed sets often featured fabricated precipitation, large haunting holograms, and gold plastic skeletons. This was certainly not the stuff of ordinary shows. This was brilliance. So few Fashion designers stage these sort of theatrical productions, but of them all, McQueen did it best.
As I flipped through the glossy pages, understandably, I found myself envious of those who knew him personally. THE BOOK includes several first hand accounts by some who were lucky enough to have lived and worked by his side. McQueen was a brilliant mind and although I'm sad I never got the chance to meet him, I am glad he chose to share his genius. Sarah Burton has done a incredible job taking the reigns since his death, a daunting task I'm sure, but one can only imagine what wonders McQueen would have given us today.
While we'll never know what was in Lee Alexander McQueen's heart and mind those last few minutes before he took his own life, what demons he fought, one thing is for sure. In his life, McQueen wanted to share his passion and create extraordinary Fashion that would last forever. Pieces that could be passed down to loved ones and that carried tremendous meaning. As a patron, I am more than happy to collect them and help keep his legacy alive.
PHOTO BY ADC