Like many other art and fashion followers, I woke up this morning to the sad news that superstar designer Alexander McQueen had taken his own life.
I love fashion, and love art, and this guy had amazing talent. And he was young - to take your own life at any time is so scary, how bad must things be for that to feel like your best option? In Night Falls Fast, psychiatry professor Kay Redfield Jamison says there is a suicide every 17 minutes in the USA, and that it is a preventable medical and social disorder often tied to depression, manic depression, and certain medications. Bottom line, the whole thing is just lonely and sad. And preventable.
Whereas some designers are re-imaging classic stuff, and others are charlatans selling snake oil, McQueen was a true artist, a daring original who was willing to show his fears and his demons in his sometimes wacky and disturbing designs. His influence went beyond his own lines, to other designers' collections, film and music videos, art and museums.
To the establishment of fashion he was a rebel and a hooligan. To those of us who admired him we said "what the fuck" as often as we said "wowza", and love it or hate it, we were always eager to see what was next.
McQueen was, and I say this with respect and admiration, a creative wackjob, who mixed up flowers with skulls, silks with leather, trends with past classics, tossing in a tartan or garbage (literally) or something from his dreams. Think Lady Gaga and Madonna, who were passionate admirers.
We don't know what demons haunted Mr McQueen, and probably never will. It may not matter anymore. Rest in peace.