Friday, February 26, 2010

The King has left the Building

When Fashion meets funeral the results can be... interesting. Don't get me wrong, Naomi Campbell looked great, but I can't help wondering if there's some sort of wierd moral conflict about going to a funeral and having to wonder with whether you're fashionable enough for the occasion.

I've got my own moral dilemma to deal with, in the fact that someone has tragically passed and here I am blogging about the fashion. But this is a unique occasion and I take solice in the thought that this is the way Alexander would have wanted it. For us to all soldier on, and look good doing it.

In the 14 year span of his phenominal career McQueen managed to perform an incredible feat. That is, he has left a gaping hole in an industry that is full of fledgling new comers, where the turnover rate of creative directors can be as high as that of any modern corporation. Season after season designers put their best foot forward and hope they survive to see another swatch. Yet in a field so ripe with talent, he has managed to create something so outstandingly unique that the fashion community at large hangs on the thought of whether anyone is capable of taking over his post.

Alexander clearly was not your mothers' designer. Aside from his avante-garde designs, and uncoventional runway shows, it was apparent in the finale of every show when he would take his bow in a t-shirt and bowling shoes, sometimes looking as though he'd spent the afternoon painting his house, and maybe he had. That is to say that he was not a of the Valentino/Karl Lagerfeld school of thought, with their immaculately tailored suits, there is never any mistaking that these men not only love, but live, fashion. McQueen had a much more detached approach. It was almost as if three times a year McQueens wild imagination would regurgitate itself onto the runway, just for the sake of giving his brain some breathing room for all the other wild thoughts and images sure to be rolling around in there. It was never fashion for fashions sake, it was fashion for arts sake, and that's not to discredit in any way the incredible designer he was. As much as he was an innovator, he was equally known for his perfect tailoring and attention to detail, an apprenticeship on the famed savile row early in his career assured that. He was a true master in every sense of the word, and with every collection, he took the industry and himself to a new height.

Whether or not fashion is in fact art, is an age old topic that will never be conclusively resolved. Its a matter of pure opinion, and there are as many designers who would say nay as there are designers insulted by the mere question. But we need not go there now, because what we know above all else is that whether you believe fashion is art or not, McQueen was an artist, and his creations were as inspired as any Van Gogh, Klimt, or Picasso. When something has been created from an inspired place, we know it, because we feel it, and this couldn't be more true of the late great. Through his work, we felt him, we felt his soul, and that human-ness is what resonates with us all.

So, with two days until the end of London's fashion week, the place McQueen called home for the past 8 years, the Late Great has taken his final bow. And the community that embraced him for the past 14 years will once more zip up their boots, secure the knot on their coats, and hold fast to their schedules as they run to the next tent, because if there's anything we know in this fickle business, its that come hell or high water, the shows simply must go on.

                       Kate Moss  and Naomi Campbell arrive to Alexander McQueens funeral in style.                             

          Bloggers Note: Robert Polet, President and CEO of The Gucci Group, which holds a 51% stake in the Alexander McQueen brand has said recently that the Alexander McQueen business will go on without its founder and Creative Director (Gasp).

There will be a much anticipated presentation of McQueen's most recent collection during Paris Fashion Week.

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