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Saturday, February 13, 2010
Graphic by Lips magazine's art director Jirawat Sriluansoi for his
Good For Nothing T-shirt brand in honour of the late designer
“Alexander McQueen, darling. Say...Alexander McQueen.” He said that in what's almost a whisper, meant only for the delicate ear of a one-year-old toddler he's holding his his arms. My friend, Thailand's consummate fashion critic Watcharin Phongsai was trying to teach my then one-year-old baby girl to talk the universal fashion language. He's teaching her to say Oscar de la Renta and then, 'Alexander McQueen.'
Like Oscar de la Renta and Yves Saint Laurent, the name Alexander McQueen itself and not the man exudes a kind of aesthetic majesty, in the grandeur of sounds and the way they're pronounced. The name sounds great, and so certainly is the man. We all know he's been called 'Alexander the Great.' But from now, the name would bring on all fashion enthusiasts such immense longing for the ingenious designer who's taken away from us too soon. Alexander McQueen was found dead on Thursday in his own house.
There's actually no need to describe the extremity, eccentricity and flawless tailoring that have made him legendary. Everyone knows he's a true genius who always pushes the boundaries and goes for nothing but the extremes. But Alexander McQueen in my opinion means more than mere marvellous design maestro. His is the name that had always been there even before I came to work in fashion. You don't need to understand fashion to appreciate that eccentric extravagance of his work. Even when you're not that into fashion, you can't help but stopping channel-surfing to have a look when you stumble upon his runway show on the fashion channel. Most of the time, you'd probably say ''what the hell is that?'' or ''who on earth is going to wear such thing?”
And amongst those many thousands who stumble upon his creative wonders, many are blown. They're inspired by that extreme – the amount of creative juices and out-of-this-world ideas put into these clothes. His is such the kind of design that's meant to inspire young design aspirants who, along their process of searching and discovering their design identity, need to have a creative icon whose boldness and wild self-expression they can look up to. Alexander McQueen is that kind of designers' designer.
Losing McQueen is not simply the loss of great design personality. I think of the number of people McQueen and his work have inspired during his entire career, and weep with tearful regret. I for one heard the name and saw his work even before I became interested in fashion. What the fashion world is losing is not just a designer, but probably a large number of possible future fashion personnel who could have been inspired by McQueen to work in fashion should the designer be alive.
And I weep for my kid's loss of opportunity to grow up in the world where she could have a fresh view of new creations by Alexander McQueen a few times a year, and not just admire his work simply in archives.
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