Friday, 12 February 2010

The Death of Alexander McQueen

I'm not a fashionista. I don't particularly follow fashion, other than the odd purchase of Another Magazine, Another Man, Vogue, L'Uomo, 10 Men, Arena Homme +, Fantastic Man.... but nevertheless, the death of Lee (Alexander) McQueen comes as shocking news. I had no idea his mother had died ten days before; I don't follow Twitter so titbits of news like that tend to pass me by.

Losing one's centre of gravity, in its entirety or in part, is not an uncommon occurrence, and people deal with such crises in different ways. Some find the resolve to assimilate a new focus for living, others decide that nothing that exists can any longer be enough. McQueen may have felt that he'd done everything he'd ever need or want to, and that life could never have been better than when his mother - and friend Isabella Blow - were alive, with such personal satisfaction balancing the professional prosperity.

We all take people for granted, especially celebrities; they are institutionalised, and we expect them to be there forever, unmoved and unaffected, like public sculptures. When someone dies suddenly, like McQueen, or Brittany Murphy or Heath Ledger before him, it causes a personal, existential crisis; your world is suddenly different somehow, with a matte-black cloud directly overhead, the momentary stagnation of time thickening the air you breathe, someone known, a friend of sorts, is no longer there. Who will be the next person I am taking for granted, who will suddenly cease to exist before I've had time to appreciate them?

His torn, silk, chiffon dress from around 2002, modelled by Kate Moss for Another Magazine, is the only item of clothing I've ever been bothered to write about. And the new Armadillo boots, which take the classic bondage 'gimp' shoe to a new, and almost completely original, creative sphere, are the most amazing shoes I've ever seen and actually make me want to be a girl for the day just to experience standing in them. Not that I'd wear the dress and the shoes together, mind.

As an observer on the fashion periphery I shan't comment on the loss of a genius or British institution, but only question how someone so successful and acclaimed could sink so low existentially as to reject the gift of life, and how such a nucleic figure could find himself despairing in abject loneliness. Who else is there, suffering in silence, and what can we do to lift them?