I am probably the last person in blogland to comment on the Royal Wedding festivities, but seeing the bride in chez Alexander McQueen made me sigh. A sigh both beautiful and sad, because I really feel the loss of his light. I confess that McQueen was my favorite designer of the last decade.
He made me proud. McQueen seemed like the first major fashion designer of my generation to use fashion as high art. He had commercial and design intelligence but artistic ambition. Many have commented on his whimsy and fantasy but I think he often tapped into something very deep and spiritual.
[from his final collection in 2010}
People who love fashion often feel guilty for saying so. I overheard a conversation recently in which someone was saying “yeah I know it’s silly but I really, really like fashion!” Again, I was reminded of this after watching The September Issue. From the first scene there is a bit of “yes, I know my family thinks this isn’t a serious career but I’m smart, dammit, and I think it’s really important” kind of discussion–i.e., concern about being some kind of Zoolander caricature. Personally, I don’t even understand how people could dismiss fashion in the first place. We human beings have all manner of expression available to us, but fashion and body expression, cultural dress, jewelry, cosmetics–are ON us. We are wearing what we think about ourselves. It doesn’t get any closer than that.
McQueen was a refreshing conversation free of the guilt. And when I say he tapped into something spiritual, he reminded us of our warrior selves, our regal selves, our religious or mystical selves.
Sometimes I didn’t get it. And sometimes I disagreed with his fantasies of woman. The feminist in me reacted to a few things. But the fact that I would at times vehemently disagree with his art made me admire him even more.
Sooo… this whole meditation started with Kate Middleton’s dress. I love that Sarah Burton is carrying on his legacy with grace and femininity, architecture and romance. (And personally hope she doesn’t get carried off to another designer, because the McQueen house is important in its own right.) It is fitting that she designed undoubtedly the most famous bridal gown of our time. I loved its simplicity and timelessness.
And since I’m all black and white lately, I can’t help but include one of my favorite looks of his, from spring 2007. Love, love the bowler hat: