When you talk about Alexander McQueen, you say he was a British fashion designer and couturier who committed suicide at the age of 41, and this is entirely true for the majority.
But when I think of Alexander, my mouth is starting to mellow, I am thinking of an amazing show that has a powerful story behind, I see a mixture between theatre, crafts and the most lavish tailoring.
There were no boundaries for him, and I would like to find out why. Was it because of his gay subculture, or his middle class roots, or maybe it was just HIM, and there is no point to try and dig in any further. His concepts did not confine with the fashion world, he had a different approach. Every collection was a new experience, an exhibition of the most outrageous materials and tactics.
He was sweet but frightening, empowered but fragile and at the same time Alexander McQueen was great in juxtaposing sexuality with innocence.
There was always a dark side in his creations, a desire to show that you can let the inside out, a thirst for life after death.
I think we all have a dark side, but we are so afraid to show it, because we ponder that people might live us apart. In McQueen’s case, it’s exactly the opposite; he used his dark side, his fears, to expose eccentric and delicate figures, and his ploy really worked and gotten him the immortal success.
I feel that there were two personalities in him, the insider and the outsider; one that wanted to break all the boundaries and another that wanted to be inert and respect the traditions. And that is a hard cocktail, tough to get, and risky at the same time, because it is very easy to fall down when you are on the edge.
He launched bumpster trousers, reintroduced tailoring for women and experimented with silhouette proportion and spiral cutting around the body.
And how about the names that he chose for his collections: “McQueens Theatre of Cruelty”, “Highland Rape”, “Widows of Culloden”, they all show a sensible but powerful, daring personality. He loved the challenge, the sense of unrestrained control and his “Armadillo” shoes that only Lady Gaga can walk on, represent only one of the examples that sustain my thoughts.
Frock coats were a signature throughout his career and they were structured with imagination and finesse. He was a complex designer; he was extremely talented but also controversial. He brought drama on the stage, and one of the most celebrated catwalk show was his 2001 Spring/Summer collection, named Voss. There was an enormous glass box in the center of the room, and as it was lighted in the inside, the walls appeared like mirrors, and the audience could only see their own reflection.
Undeniably, couture matches Alexander McQueen and his rebellious side showing off to the top, bringing the double amputee model Aimee Mullins on intricately carved wooden legs on the catwalk.
He will remain an enduring influence in the fashion world because he changed the way that women look. His clothes have row energy; there is tradition, severity, romantics and strength in one piece and that is Alexander McQueen, an impeccable tailor and the finest couturier.
By Lavinia Untanu
Lavinia Untanu graduated from the University of Journalism, Communication and Public Relations in 2009.
She is a journalist interested to built a career in fashion. Currently working as a freelancer, her aim is to become a successful fashion editor/stylist.