i have been waiting quite some time to write this,
probably for a sign, for some palpable shift in emotional state,
that will let me know it is time,
to talk about why i am so stricken by the death of a fashion designer i never knew in person.
we are all inspired by people we don't know.
we all seek out masters and innovators
and draw from their intense burn to fuel our own searches,
our own creations.
from the time he began his career,
i followed mcqueen.
there was something otherworldly in his work,
and i believe his work went far beyond his clothing.
while that was inexplicably beautiful,
it often had a quality to it that seemed almost
if not out of "place",
out of time.
i would visit the new york flagship when it first opened
and peruse the racks of clothing, for men and for women,
the intricate embroideries on simple dark coats,
pickings of gold leaves and bird wings,
dense applications, ornate musings.
i could not afford the whimsy of those coats and wings,
but i could wander the store, a molded white vision,
that to this day removes you from the streets of new york
and places you squarely in some sterile, gorgeous laboratory
where hand carved wooden busts rotate slowly,
draped in the season's finest dreams.
to be honest, it was in viewing the runway shows that i felt closest to the mind of mcqueen.
he never wasted a space or the time he asked of you with simplicity.
he challenged your eyes and your ears with huge glass boxes filled with moths
that revealed corpulent bodies, swathed in tulle;
he ran robots up and down runways,
at times spray painting model's white gowns as you watched,
at times filming them live as they walked and streaming to the world.
he haunted the runways with live wolves,
battered his models with wind tunnels,
ran them in circles in homage to movies about dance marathons,
set them as enormous chess pieces on a living board,
and ended once with kate moss floating mid stage,
the divine and the damned were recurrent themes for him,
whether the clothing took on delicate decay,
or stripped itself down to raw flesh and edge,
there was always something transcendent about the ideas,
and about the way it made the women move.
to see his runways was to be invited into his mind,
then left out the back door,
stumbling into the light of the mundane.
i think this is why i personally hungered for mcqueen.
there was none of the camp of galliano,
with the overt homoeroticism and the retreading of themes;
none of the anger of owens,
the dispassionate shifting from season to season of many of the other greats.
there was one apparent vision,
suicide is a topic of fear for people,
a topic of judgement,
a topic of confusion.
but i don't think life, or how it ends,
is ever as simple as an equation.
there is nothing simple about death,
any more than there is about life.
so when a mind, or a soul, whatever you wish to place upon the discussion,
takes itself out of the passage of time,
chooses to leave,
i feel searing personal loss first,
perhaps a form of loneliness,
a certain desire to regain that momentary sense of comeraderie
that i imagined and fed upon
mcqueen's funeral was a small one.
barely an echo in the world's news.
but the few pictures i saw told me that i was not completely alone
in my sense of loneliness.
if lee alexander mcqueen had suffered too much personal loss to continue,
he would have been most pleased to see how his inner circle chose to honor him.
thank you daphne, for the cape.
it was the first time i found a smile in weeks.
when in san francisco recently,
tim and i found a store that had just received his spring 10 men's collection.
a prime piece in his recent exploration of digital printing,
took the painting
"the birth of venus"
and made it a new thing of beauty:
note the cherubim on the shoulder blades.
but still, i couldn't speak here about him.
today they released photos of his final women's collection,
not the whole line,
just works that he personally cut on figure,
that he draped and hand sewed.
and it was the moment i needed.
i do not want to say that the clothing in any way explains his decision.
but i saw HIM,
the way i did as a young man.
i saw the passion,
i saw the joy,
and i saw the sorrow.
there is hand embroidery that speaks of a meticulous eye:
digital prints that speak of innovation and desire:
silhouettes that banish the mundane thoughts of "day to day"
i had always said that were i woman, getting married,
there could be no other gown than one designed by mcqueen.
even here, there was re-affirmation of that sentiment,
where the virginal and the holy
met the strong:
the salon where the showing was held was the perfect final venue.
look to the mirror in this shot,
and see his obsession with wings take final form,
a digital print of statuary,
given new life:
perhaps when you have touched the divine,
or let it pass through you with such sublime results,
the calling to it is made more irresistable.
or perhaps that is just poetic wishful thinking,
from someone who was moved by an artist,
and hopes he has found peace