McQueen Still On Our Minds

The editors over at the NY Times have created an interactive timeline in remembrance of the late Alexander Mcqueen. This timeline done as a nostalgic tribute synthesis the pivotal points of his often troubled life and macabre presentations that have permeably impacted the industry and challenged our notions of fashion. The timeline illustrates Mcqueen's humble beginnings in London, his father, for those who may come this as a surprise, was a cab driver and his mother was a social science teacher, his training at Savile Row at 16 years young and his very first collection in October 1993. This one will foreshadowed what was to come of Mcqueen's later collections, "(models) walked the runway with their middle finger extended, and their dresses were hand-painted to appear as if they were covered with blood", notes the Times. I can already imagine the expressions of concern, disgust or even of joy from the attendees when they saw these models wearing such pompous creations. Excluding Vivienne Westwood, I don't think british designers had such iconoclastic, off-the-norm, perspectives on fashion. Thus I can vaguely envision the faces on the front-row, probably somebody was like, are you serious? Who the hell would wear that? An extravagant lady by the name of Isabella Blow, a british fashion editor, would buy his whole first graduate collection (Central St. Martins) in 1994 and subsequently put Mcqueen in a platform where he would eventually dazzle, disappoint, infuriate, enchant and inspire a whole generation of fashion followers. So I guess the question was answered. 

Furthermore, the timeline continues on and touches on those iconic moments that we remember so vividly. One of those moments was his rather controversial Spring 1995 collection, where he introduced the "bumster" pants, which hugged a women's hip and revealed a much indecorous back cleave. This blatant exhibition of women's privates seemed like a tasteless approach to innovative fashion, and it will later translate into their counterparts when men on the urban/underground scene started to sport such trend, revealing boxer shorts puffing out or flashing a designer's logo emblazon on the front of their underwear. But after all, the "bumster" will later become of the most influential garments of the decade and it seems to still be relevant today. It only takes a pass-through a frequently attended teen spot and one will witness boys walking around in sagging pants showing their derriere and some will take it to new heights (or lows, I should say), by letting their pants sag down to almost below their knees which disables them to walk correctly, wobbling down a sidewalk was never in fashion. I'm not going to sound fake and state that I never worn baggy jeans, because I still do and I don't see anything wrong with that, but it's a different story wearing baggy jeans and letting them sag so low that it makes one looks like a duck. I love men with protruding asses, but I don't get turn on when I see men with sagging jeans displaying no sense of style. Ladies, I'm totally aware that wearing underwear as outwear is one of the biggest trends for this season, but one must reckon that fashion trends are at times reclusive, they don't work for everybody, what works for one may not work for someone else and vice-versa, so that choice would be ultimately made once one takes a look in the mirror and honestly accepts what works for one respectably. (For inspiration I recommend take a look at collections from Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, and Jean Paul Gaultier)

This taut timeline also notes Mcqueen's stint at the couture house of Givenchy starting in 1996, succeeding John Galliano as the creative director. His brief tenure at Givenchy was rocky to say the least, though he dazzled the crowds with his innovative designs, Mcqueen lacked the maturity to hold such coveted position. By that time I guess folks were already aware of Mcqueen's less cordial ways, but when he called Hubert de Givenchy's archives irrelevant, infuriating the french and their rich history of fashion, rebuking his work and all things Mcqueen. Let's pretend for a moment this happens today. Some lesser-known foreign designer came to take over Ralph Lauren (for some odd reason) and then telling the press that his clothes are made for country rednecks. Not only this man would be fired from Lauren, but he will stupidly hurt any future business plans in America and earn a reputation of an ignorant, closed-minded pig, to say the least. I firmly stand on the idea that people are free of expressing themselves in any art form, in this case fashion, but then making unnecessary, biased, ignorant comments with no base on such respectable entities in the industry is suicidal. If I wanted the best for these people I would tell them to bite their tongue and just think before opening their mouths. Mcqueen would exit the house of Givenchy in 2001, and then branch out on his on, but the biggest slap on the face move was when Mcqueen sold his label to the Gucci Group. Pow! ( LVMH is one the biggest luxury goods conglomerates in the world and Gucci Group is one of it's biggest rivals. LVMH owns part of Givenchy, get it?)

Then there was the introduction of "My Queen" fragrance in 2005; the collaboration with Puma on the same year (which is still running); the more affordable diffusion line McQ, which ranges from sport jackets, sneakers to women's accessories; his collaboration with Target in January 2009 in efforts to familiarize the American consumers with his name; to his last much acclaimed Spring/Summer show titled "Plato's Atlantis" which featured models in reptilian, otherworldly short dresses, alien-esque facial features, and shoes that resembled an armadillo, a UFO, and the titanic ship. His last collection shown on March 9, 2010, which was said to be %80 completed by the time of his death which was showed to an exclusive group of editors during Paris Fashion Week, was inspired by 15th century Byzantine paintings. 

The loss of his loyal supporter and mentor Isabella Blow in April 2007 and his mother in Feb 2 of this year was perhaps such an unbearable tough blow to his heart and psyche, that led him to take his own life on Feb 11. Surprisingly enough, the day before the burial of his mother. I have briefly expressed my thoughts on the situation in a previous post, but I don't think it's enough stressed the magnitude of this loss. On Feb 11, we not only lost a designer, but a visionare, an illusionist, that through his work he taught us all respectively that fashion is not superficial, but it's a concise exploration and understanding of the creative and sublime aesthetics of life. 

Check out the timeline here. Below is a video done by the Gucci Group as a tribute. 

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