‘Til Death Do Us Part: Alexander McQueen

Kate Moss in Alexander McQueen, Image by Cedric Rivrain

40 years old – and gone. Lee Alexander McQueen, I hope you’re out drinking with Yves Saint Laurent and your old friend Isabella Blow, collaborating on new shoots with Irving Penn and Bob Carlos Clarke and other fashion greats who’ve left us in recent years. Your vision was singular, your talent unparalleled. You summoned ghosts in front of our disbelieving eyes, and crafted runway landscapes of rain, fire and snow. You challenged norms by collaborating with unconventional beauties such as Beth Ditto, and stunned us with your visions of antlered seraphs, Leigh Bowery-inspired harlequins and dashing turn-of-the-century brutes. In the wake of what appeared on the outside to be a successful, inspired year for you, it’s hard to imagine what was in your heart at the moment you took your life. But we all have our demons. May yours finally be at rest.

18 Responses to “‘Til Death Do Us Part: Alexander McQueen”

  1. carnivillain Says:

    I wish I had peeked out of my hole and known he existed before he passed away. Now, as I scour the internet for pictures and video of his incredible work, I do so with the sad knowledge that this is all there will ever be.

  2. Mer Says:

    Thanks for this, Nadya.

    So shocking and sad. He’d recently lost his mum and Isabella only years before, which can bring the demons in droves, so it’s not completely out of nowhere, but it still feels so brutally unwarranted and somehow… wrong. Suicide is always a shock to those left living. Devastating news.

    A sweet quote from Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue:

    “His brilliant imagination knew no bounds as he conjured up collection after collection of extraordinary designs,” she said. “At one level he was a master of the fantastic, creating astounding fashion shows that mixed design, technology and performance and on another he was a modern-day genius whose gothic aesthetic was adopted by women the world over. His death is the hugest loss to anyone who knew him and for very many who didn’t.”

  3. Christiane Says:

    very very sad :(

  4. Zoetica Says:

    This news had me paralyzed for a couple of hours this morning. Seeing the Kate Moss holo-ghost and the inspired, gorgeous Spring ’10 collection again drives it home: there will never, ever be another like McQueen. His death is a staggering loss to the art+fashion world, but, like Nadya, I hope this decision brought him peace and maybe even happiness.

  5. annie Says:

    i hope he is at peace, somewhere, with isabella on one side, and his mother on the other.

  6. Kambriel Says:

    Most of a day has gone by, and still I have no words.

    I keep thinking of the “Gothic: Dark Glamour” exhibit, and the microscope slide gown that was such a centerpiece for the entire thing… it grows more and more surreal that my own pieces were even in the same show, and I’ll treasure that no-matter-how-distant connection forever.

    His vibrant spirit of inspiration will be in my heart as I look through my fabrics and decide what to create from them… It’s the best tribute I can think of to do.

  7. Juha Arvid Helminen Says:

    So sad.

  8. DerelictHat Says:

    This was the first thing I saw when I got home. I am glad I didn’t hear about this earlier today, because now I feel like there’s nothing I can do. I feel like I’ve lost power.

  9. Emily I. Says:

    Very well said. So sad about this.

    I’ve spent the past hour or so ripping through old videos of his shows on youtube.


  10. Vivacious G Says:

    This makes my heart hurt for so many reasons. One being when I was in fashion design school and saw his work for the first time and thought, “Yes! Another one on our side!”


  11. fortheloveofthestars Says:

    I heard this this morning before work, and it was so hard to go in. He was my most favorite fashion designer ever.He was too damn young. He must have been in a lot of pain. How dreadful. Thank you for posting this lovely little tribute.

  12. Tequila Says:

    It’s a great loss. His work was inspiring even to those of us who have little interest in fashion as a whole. I’ll miss seeing his designs for men the most…

    In terms of HOW he left, it’s hard to judge him badly. It’d be great to have such people around forever but it just doesn’t work out that way. We’ll no doubt get many trying to explain WHY for the next weeks and years really, but it’s far better to look back on his work and enjoy it all over again. He gave enough of himself that it’s hard to feel cheated.

    Hope he found peace. He’ll be terribly missed.

  13. Alice Says:

    Too, too tragic. I’ll be poring over his collections for days straight now, I’m sure.

  14. Mer Says:

    “In terms of HOW he left, it’s hard to judge him badly.”

    I don’t think anyone is, T. It’s just really shocking and sad.

  15. alistar Says:

    I found this out late in my day, the news was such a terrible blow. I wanted to cry when I read the news, that I was on transit at the time I didn’t. The world seems a little less bright without his bit of inspiration and creativity adding to it.
    I can certainly empathize with how he left the world. It just doesn’t stop me from being a bit maudlin over it. I hope they go on with his show that he had planned in the coming weeks, so we can all savor his creativity one last time.

  16. Tequila Says:

    @Mer…That part was more of a reaction to a handful of comments I’d come across while reading various bits of news. Apologies if it sounded like a response to what somebody had written here. I should have been a bit more clear as to why I had written that.

  17. Vinnie Says:

    he’s soaring in the Cosmos wrestling with Leigh Bowery and singing with Klaus Nomi

  18. Week of Links 2/14 | Tomorrow Museum Says:

    […] greatest visionaries this week. RIP Alexander McQueen. (WWD, Daphne Guinness, The Telegraph, Coilhouse, Unlikely Worlds, Daniel Hernandez, Tavi.) Iain Sinclair on JG Ballard’s artistic legacy. […]