We were so saddened here at CRAFT to hear yesterday of the death of Lee McQueen, otherwise known as Alexander McQueen, the founder of the fashion label and visionary designer. I still remember seeing some of his dresses for the first time as a teenager and having my breath taken away by the exquisite detail and bold color and unabashed love of historical costume. I sometimes felt that he could secretly see my dreams, or maybe he was creating them, because again and again he captured some element of color or texture or reference to another era that I’d been thinking about and made it reality.
Whether he sent a flock of bawdy-yet-ladylike pirates down the runway, or commandeered wild birds to nest in the models’ hair, or summoned the shade of Jane Austen or the Duchess of Windsor to dance for him, his clothes were more than just clothes. Whether he created an extremely wearable lemon-yellow frock swathed in a black lace tattoo or a ridiculously over-the-top poof dress with exaggerated shoulders, he made us yearn. Never afraid of a hat, always open to volume and texture and color, Alexander McQueen was arguably a genius. (And boy, did people argue!) His clothes live on in closets, city sidewalks, and the Met Museum.
Whatever caused him to take his life, my heart goes out to his family and friends. But we are all bereft, whether or not we knew him by name. His creativity made fashion magazine pages turn, his passion for technique kept other designers on their toes, and his eccentric vision inspired sewers and crafters around the world. Rest in peace, Lee McQueen.
(All images by Marcio Madeira, via Style.com, which has a huge archive of images from past runway shows. And for those of you that are interested, there’s also a Public Guestbook open for comments.)