This article was written in 2010 shortly after Alexander McQueen’s death.
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McQueen studied fashion at the iconic Central St. Martins in London, then the art of tailoring through his apprenticeships on Saville Row, where he whittled his pattern-cutting technique down to perfection; all this to abandon the constraints of the scissors and break free of fashion’s rules and limitations. In throwing off the restraints he created some of the most sensational clothes of the early 21st Century.
Much like Madame Guillem herself, who studied the purest of classical ballet techniques in order to finally relinquish it and go forth to become one of the greatest artists in history, McQueen’s fantastical and rebellious imagination was able to find its feet because he understood the beauty of a flawless cut.
McQueen defied and challenged numerous fashion luminaries and earned himself the title ‘l’enfant terrible’. His runway shows were escapist spectacles. He would often hold his performances in abandoned locations in London in the middle of a cold winter night. His most recent outrageous production unveiled those alien-hoof like shoes made famous by one prancing and dancing Lady Gaga in her ‘Bad Romance’ film clip.
As the Alexander McQueen online store frantically sells out of his most famed creations, a ring adorned in delicate enamel flowers and a single dark skull seems to evoke more of his aesthetic than any other piece, a testament to the struggle within him to acknowledge beauty yet defy it. Never one to look back, McQueen wanted to bring technology into his creations, yet his designs were always most acclaimed when referencing romanticism and fantasy. To combine both futurism and fantasy was always at the forefront of McQueen’s mind. When creating a hologram of Kate Moss for his Fall ’06 collection and imagining a future where holograms were a part of daily life, he mused “I’m talking fantasy, but I don’t think it’s that far from reality.”
Even in accepting the loss of a true visionary, we can see that McQueen’s fantasies were able to become realities, and he can now remain forever in a fashion reverie.