Before reading about his death yesterday, I don't think I'd ever registered the name Alexander McQueen. The world of high fashion is entirely alien to me. Other then the names of occasional models who gain fleeting pop culture notoriety for doing something particularly tabloid-worthy, I know virtually nothing about it.

As it turns out, I was familiar with a few examples of his work without realizing it. Most recently, one of the bizarre outfits in Lady Gaga's Bad Romance video. But, more surprisingly, the cover of what I personally feel is Bjork's finest work, Homogenic. (I'd always assumed that it was an illustration, but, as you'll read at the link, it was actually a photo that she posed for.)

Looking at some of the pictures of his creations that were all over the web yesterday, I discovered that, as a designer, he was wildly imaginative (to say the least), but could also design clothes that real women could actually wear. You can see a generous variety of both sorts here (scroll past the first dozen or so posts to get to the McQueen stuff).

But what really blew me away were two brief video excerpts from past McQueen fashion shows. Looking at these, it seems to me that he had truly transcended the label of fashion designer and moved on into full-blown performance art.

In this first one, his model interacts with two industrial robots (starting about 40 seconds in).

In this one, his gown is modeled by a holographic representation of Kate Moss.

It feels odd to think that I'll miss someone who I didn't even know existed prior to his death. But, having watched those videos, I will.


Erin O'Brien said...


I wonder if the Whirling Dervishes were part of the inspiration for the robotic/model performance.

Unknown said...

I made a point to stop by the Alexander McQueen store on Melrose the other night, which is just a few blocks from me.

The makeshift shrine of candles and piles of roses and lilies was touching, but even more touching was a woman solemnly showing her three daughters pictures of his work in a coffee table fashion book she had brought. The girls ranged from six to 16, and I had the familiar struggle of wondering if it would be ‘fair’ to take a picture. I decided to let them keep their moment, but I desperately hoped that the girls would appreciate having a parent who would understand why Alexander McQueen was so important, a parent who would teach them things like that.

How lovely, how unexpected, to have the same exact desperate hope just a few days later.