The Fashion Statement: Alexander McQueen's Final Show
A handful of fashion editors got a look at Alexander McQueen's last, unfinished collection on Tuesday, making them acutely aware of the genius the industry has lost.
The 16-piece collection, half of what was supposed to have been shown in Paris this week, was 80 percent finished on Feb. 11 when the designer hanged himself at his London apartment at the age of 40. He had been reportedly distraught by his mother's death and there were rumors of a failed love relationship. Sarah Burton, who worked with McQueen for more than a decade, finished his work.
The presentation was set to opera music the designer was listening to when he was working recently. It was "solemn, funereal and even a little spooky," according to Women's Wear Daily.
Editors said the show was difficult to watch because it was soon clear that McQueen was fixated on the afterlife. The clothes had medieval and religious overtones and suggested battles between angels and demons-themes that take on significantly more meaning in light of McQueen's death. With pale faces and wearing bronze skull caps, models glided out in Jacquards and silks on which Old Master paintings by Botticelli, Hieronymus Bosch and Jean Fouquet were digitally transferred. One print portrayed hell and damnation while another featured doves. A skull, a signature of McQueen's, showed up in this collection crushed and broken.
Gallery: Alexander McQueen Fashion
I'm sure like many jaded fashion editors, McQueen, was my personal favorite (and I had the good fortune to meet him once). He was technically one of the best, but it was the push-pull that fascinated me. He was never predictable. He was the designer other designers watch.
Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune wrote: "In this collection Alexander - Lee - McQueen showed his sensitivity to history, his powers of research, his imagination, his technical skills and his love of women, often misinterpreted or misunderstood, but here evident in every fold and feather."
A talent gone much too soon.