I need to get this post down before I give in to the lure of Twitter. Usually when EVERYONE blogs about something, it’s the last thing that appeals to me. But the death of Alexander McQueen however, is something I feel I MUST write about.
I was reminded of the artistry of McQueen a few months back in the superb BBC 2 series, British Style Genius (See McQueen’s Rebel profile here.) One episode blew me away and reminded me of everything I love about fashion – the flamboyance, the drama and specifically the ART of the designers. It was entitled, “Breaking the Rules: Fashion Rebel Look” and delved back into the archives of Galliano and McQueen to chart the beginnings of their fashion rebellion. The first thing that hit me was the fact that McQueen’s work remained equally pioneering, exciting and innovative, even 10 years on. My eyes hadn’t become accustomed to his showmanship as the decades had progressed; quite the opposite, I still looked upon his work with the wonderment of a small child.
The production of his 2001 Spring/Summer collection stands foremost in my mind. Nick Knight describes it best in an interview with Grazia and I wouldn’t even attempt to describe it better myself,
“My favourite, simply because it was so clever, was the mirror box show. He put all the models inside a huge mirrored cube. Before the show all the lights were on in the auditorium and the cube was a huge mirror reflecting the audience. The shows are always about 45 minutes late to start, and I remember I was on the front row between Alexandra Shulman and Gwyneth Paltrow, so if you looked up you stared at your own reflection, if you looked sideways you stared at your neighbour, so after a short time you ended up staring at your feet. Lee had managed by the use of this simple trick to have the whole of the front row, some of the most important people in fashion all sitting, heads bowed, humbled. Once the show started, the house lights went down, and the audience were released from this. And then it was the models inside the mirrored box who could see only their own reflections. Voyeurism was swapped to vanity.” (See Nick’s full interview here)
I hope the BBC repeats this episode of British Style Genius, simply to honour the passing of a genius that had contributed so much to the industry. It is sorrowful that the future of fashion will be deprived of Alexander McQueen.