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Alexander McQueen | Manolo for the Big Girl

Alexander McQueen

I just don’t know what to say about Alexander McQueen, the 40 year-old British designer who took his own life this week.

Alexander McQueen

I never knew him.

None of my friends knew him. I never saw him at a party or knew someone who knew someone who had a one night stand with someone who’d interviewed him. I don’t have any amusing or bittersweet personal anecdotes.

But.

When I started digging my heels into fashion in my early 20’s, McQueen and Galliano quickly became my two favorite designers. I love Galliano for his camp sophistication, but McQueen’s harder edge spoke to me more than any other. I loved the theatricality of his shows, the brutality and the cynicism, the wit and the beauty and the pure genius.

Ah, the G word.

Two years ago I wrote:

There are two types of people in the world: those who think that quirky British designer Alexander McQueen is an absolute genius and should — as part of a quartet including Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, Nicholas Ghesquiere at Balenciaga and the funky little fashion troll himself, John Galliano– spend the rest of his life designing clothes for me and the lucky few whom I deem worthy, and people who are just plain wrong”

I don’t use the word genius often because I don’t think it applies to many designers, but McQueen was.  He could do experimental, he could do commercial and his cutting and draping were legendary.  We have lost a great talent. So young, so much potential. Imagining what effect he would’ve had on the world if he’d have the longevity of Yves Saint Laurent or Valentino is just heartbreaking.

His death is a shame and a waste.

Simply put, the world is a less beautiful place without him in it.

It would be a less beautiful place without you, too.

If you struggle with depression or suicidal thoughts, please seek help.   Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  at 1-800-273-TALK.

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Finally, if there’s someone in your life you’re worried about but are afraid to say anything because it’s Not Your Place, talk to them. Just suck it up and do it. It’s an act of love, and although  none of us can guarantee a specific outcome, you owe it to your friends.

11 Responses to “Alexander McQueen”

  1. Mrs. Hendricks February 12, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    It’s hard to be reminded again that depression (especially undetected and/or untreated) can be fatal. My heart is heavy for the McQueen family: two members gone in less than two weeks. Heartbreaking.

  2. Frances February 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    Plumcake, I have never at any point in my life been depressed or anything less than happy, but I couldn’t help crying at these lines: ‘Simply put, the world is a less beautiful place without him in it. It would be a less beautiful place without you, too.’ Such a beautiful, perfectly written and TRUE statement. I can’t describe couture as eloquently as you, but I believe and KNOW that Mr McQueen was a true genius and artist. RIP.

  3. Jen February 12, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    Thank you for this. A good reminder that everyone is loved by someone – something that is hard to see in the midst of despair.

  4. g-dog February 12, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    Thankfully no one (at least here) has yet ‘chastised’ him for being “selfish”. For those with fingers poised over the keyboard – it’s called ’empathy’, go check it out. We can never truly fathom another’s personal, spiritual, physical or mental suffering. Give them a break.

  5. dcsurfergirl February 12, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    Always show kindness because you never know who may need it.

  6. politigeek February 13, 2010 at 12:30 am #

    My brother died by suicide last July, leaving a two sons (4 months and 4 years old) and a wake of indescribable grief among those of us who loved him so. I’ve never felt such grief, regret, and pain.

    What humbles me, though, is knowing that our collective grief still can’t compare to the unfathomable depths of black pain that my dearest, most loved brother must have been in in the moments before his death.

    Some analyses show bipolar disorder among men having higher than a 20% mortality rate. Depression can also be deadly. Yet we still stigmatize these terrible illnesses, and those who suffer from them are discriminated against in health care and in society.

    My heart goes out to McQueen’s family and friends and to all who have been lost to depression, bipolar disorder, and other illnesses.

  7. Lisa February 13, 2010 at 12:43 am #

    I have nothing intelligent to say, except that I can’t imagine never being delighted by another McQueen show. I loved it all–I loved it. From Lady Gaga’s crazy shoes to those beeeyoootifully cut wool suits in PF2009, I loved his work. I just hate this. And I really hate what he must have been feeling because God knows I’ve been there.

  8. tiptoe February 13, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    The horror and the sadness. And right after his mother died?

    Maybe Christian Siriano will take his place since he did study or work with McQueen.

    ~RIP~

  9. g-dog February 15, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Politigeek – sorry for your & your family’s loss. Thank you for sharing.

  10. All Women Stalker February 17, 2010 at 2:45 am #

    I just discovered his designs when the news of his suicide was announced. He is such a great loss to fashion community and to the world.

  11. Gail Dickens November 23, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    I’d adore a pair of those, if only I could scrape together the funds for them