The Fashionista is in – Alexander McQueen: A Tribute

Remembering the late, great designer.

The Fashionista is in - Alexander McQueen: A Tribute

by Kara Nesvig

Aside from the blue gingham âÄúDorothy dressâÄù I wore daily from ages three to five, the first time I was ever truly enchanted by fashion came courtesy of Alexander McQueenâÄôs âÄúOyster Dress.âÄù I saw it in the pages of âÄúVogueâÄù around 2003 and it was the first garment IâÄôd ever seen that completely took my breath away. I donâÄôt believe in love at first sight or in the idea that some guy will leave me breathless, but a beautiful dress can get the job done. The dress, made of intricately whipped, gathered and destroyed linen-colored silk, looked like what a beautiful sea creature suddenly landlocked would emerge from the ocean wearing with its waves of stunning movement. It was probably unbelievably heavy, yet it appeared weightless. It was that dress I thought of when I heard about the tragic passing of McQueen last Thursday morning. Though I didnâÄôt consider McQueen my favorite designer, I had always admired and envied his talent and the garments he sent down the runways, sometimes scary and sometimes dreamlike. McQueen, who is often referred to in the mainstream press as something of an âÄúenfant terrible,âÄù was only 40 at the time of his death. He was the son of a taxi driver and was discovered in 1991. Shortly after a stint at Givenchy, the house of McQueen was born and its massive success led to its eventual sale to the Gucci Group. McQueen was fashionâÄôs renegade darling, sending models down his runway in lobster claws masquerading as shoes, garish clown lips and always donning garments that had critics and fashionphiles buzzing. His Kate Moss hologram, which debuted at a McQueen show in 2006, is the perfect example of the fluid beauty and otherworldliness of his creations. (You can see for yourself on YouTube.) People often dismiss fashion and the industry it created as frivolous. But evidence that it is truly art can be found in McQueen and his coterie of talented eccentrics. Some of the most famous are Brit magazine editor Isabella Blow (who committed suicide in 2007), heiress Daphne Guiness and, of course, Lady Gaga. Most recently, Sandra Bullock drew raves for her black-and-blue McQueen gown at the SAG Awards, where âÄúTrue BloodâÄù star Anna Paquin also wore a mini-dress by the designer. He was beloved by stars like Sarah Jessica Parker and supermodels like Naomi Campbell, many of whom counted him as a close personal friend. McQueenâÄôs mother died only a short while before McQueen took his own life, and his Twitter, since deleted, revealed his devastation. He Tweeted this just two days before her death: “From heaven to hell and back again, life is a funny thing. Beauty can come from the most strangest of places even the most disgusting places.” McQueenâÄôs death occurred right in the midst of New York Fashion Week, and IâÄôve read about the countless tributes and offerings being laid before his flagship store in memoriam. Though McQueenâÄôs name gained familiarity with our demographic after Lady Gaga donned much of his âÄúAlienâÄù collection in her âÄúBad RomanceâÄù video, McQueen has been around a long time. Sales of McQueenâÄôs most iconic items, like the skull scarf that has been draped across more celebrity necks than anything from Harry Winston, have shot up drastically in the wake of his death. Of course, in the wake of such a tragedy, there is a business to think about. The house of McQueen is highly profitable and will most likely go on. When a designer dies, itâÄôs usually common for another to take over and run the house, as has happened with Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. Who will it be? There are rumors, but as of yet nothing has been announced.