Oftentimes I am asked, well not often, it happened like twice but when I was asked “If you could interview anyone dead or alive who would it be?” My mind headed straight to the place in my heart that is specifically for the iconic Alexander McQueen.
There are a few common McQueen pieces such as the sheer scarves with skulls all over them or the sneakers with a silhouette similar to the Stan Smith Adidas. Outside of these popular staples, Alexander McQueen is a legend.
Referred to by his friends as Lee, was born on March 17, 1969, and lived in public housing in London's Lewisham district with his mother Joyce, father, Ronald, and five siblings. Due to bullying because of his sexuality, McQueen dropped out of school at age 16. He then found work on Savile Row and later moved on to work with theatrical costume designers Angels and Bermans.
The thing I admire most about McQueen is he had the ability to express exactly how he felt through his lines. His expression was never literal, boring, or traditional and in the fashion industry being this daring could haunt you. Lee was ridiculed for his looks and how he dressed but what about his art?
I hate that the industry is so shallow that after being bullied in school about his sexuality, he was finally free to express himself ,and was then bullied for his low-income beginnings and appearance.
In 2007, Isabella Blow, the woman who discovered McQueen committed suicide. He then dedicated his 2008 SS line to Blow.
My favorite look is “Look #6” where the model is wearing a headpiece made of red butterflies. A butterfly symbolizes evolution, ascension, and growth. Was McQueen viewing Blow’s suicide as her ascending?
Two years later, on February 2, 2010, McQueen's mother died. Before her funeral, McQueen was found dead in his apartment due to suicide.
Although I will never be able to interview Alexander McQueen, his life and contributions to the fashion industry have taught me some of the biggest lessons an artist can learn.
Sometimes we get so consumed in people’s perceptions of us that we lose our sense of self. It is easy as an artist to get caught in what people think and how they feel about what you create, but always create for you.