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15.02.2010- 'Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision.'

What can I write about Alexander McQueen that hasn't already been written? His shock passing at the end of last week has resulted in a deluge of tributes and eulogies, posthumously calling him a genius, innovator and fashion revolutionary. For me, it is extremely difficult to articulate how I feel about his death without sounding melodramatic or disingenuous; after all, I didn’t know him personally and have never bought anything he designed. Like so many others, the essence of the Alexander McQueen I was familiar with manifested itself every six months at Paris Fashion Week, where his show was consistently the one I looked forward to the most. I remember when I first became aware of his work; the first collection of his I saw was his Fall 2006 Ready to Wear presentation, which still takes my breath away when I look back at it. I remember being totally enthralled by the craftsmanship, elegance and theatricality of the collection and wanting to escape into the fantastical wonderland McQueen had constructed through his beautiful designs. Aside from his much heralded tailoring skills and innovative approach to design, for me Alexander McQueen epitomised everything that fashion should be about; the conception of a painstakingly researched world where the parameters of the everyday no longer apply, where a woman can be adorned with butterflies, become a bird of paradise, deer princess, or heroine of her own gothic horror. In a world which now, more than ever before, is so fixated with profitability and commercial appeal, McQueen’s work stands alone as example of the often neglected ability of fashion and design to be utterly transcendent and transporting; to momentarily take us to a world which has a vibrancy, imagination and beauty far beyond our own. For this reason, I do not feel it an overstatement to say that Alexander McQueen, whilst now sadly celebrated in death, was a shining beacon of inspiration and illumination in life. His brilliant light will be much missed by all.

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