Sunday, May 1, 2011

God Save the McQueen

I would kill for one of his dresses.

Well, I would definitely kick someone in the shins or cut in line. I would probably run though Times Square naked.  I would definitely pay, if I had the money. (Will work for red feather strapless dress with white tulle underskirt.) He was new, shocking and so inspiring in a sometimes uninspired landscape. (Tommy Hilfiger, I'm looking at you.) His clothes were like stories, portals into a stories, into the bodies of characters. Never was there a boring piece. It was art.

Even if you don't follow fashion, you have probably seen his work. A blatant ripoff of a wonderful McQueen dress was featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 1), not to mention on the red carpet, covering Lady Gaga, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Obama, and if you've been keeping up with all the silly royal wedding madness, Katherine Middleton's wedding dress was based on a McQueen design.

For his 2004 ready-to-wear collection, instead of the standard runway, McQueen staged an extravaganza, reenacting "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?". Models and dancers started the show with exuberant dancing moves, and ending with a sole dancer, barely keeping her head up, then collapsing on stage. McQueen and the choreographer carried her off stage. Not only was the staging ingenious but the clothes themselves were beautiful and innovative.

I personally loved that he dress the common girl to the first lady. He had a line at Target a couple of years ago but also creates dresses that retail in the tens of thousands. And he knows and loves women. Now, you might want to argue that after seeing some of the contraptions he puts his models in but I would argue right back. You can't look at some of his beautiful dresses and say he doesn't worship our bodies. The chest-plated outfits and high collars, I argue, are statements, art speaking about changing our shapes via harshness. But that's just one girl's opinion.

In this month addition of Bazaar, close friend Annabelle Neilson wrote about "Lee" (his true given name) on the one year anniversary of his death. In the article, she seems still in shock about the whole thing, her retelling scattered and grief-stricken. She spoke briefly that he had promised her that he would never go the way of Isabella Blow. 

Isabella Blow was a editor, style icon and muse for the fashion forward. She suffered from depression after the people she helped get started in the business left her behind, infertility and money issues, not to mention her ovarian cancer and bipolar diagnoses. She drank weed killer that finally ended her life but, according to Daily Collegian, before that she had attempted to do so by jumping off the Hammersmith flyover in London (breaking both her ankles), car accident, getting horse tranquilizers, drowning and overdosing on various pills. The woman was determined. And in the end, so was Alex.

Alexander McQueen meant something to me. It was as if he knew how I wanted to dress; the secret wish that I could be like the girls on his catwalk. They were romantic, tough, sexy, and highly strange. I would often see a dress and fall deeply in love with it only to find out that it was a McQueen. ("Of course it's a McQueen!" I would shout in the middle of the grocery store magazine aisle.) Dripping in style and never compromised, he never pussy footed around the concept. He was brave. And that's what I wanted.

I'll miss you, amazing designer, visionary and fabulous person. 

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