Monday, June 20, 2011


British Fashion Designer of the Year, Alexander McQueen, hanged himself last year. Everything he created is what women are fighting to grab and wear.

He was gay, 40, married, still friendly but separated from his partner, on and off hooked on drugs and booze for years. A former beloved assistant to Givenchy, Creative Director for the Gucci Group, creator of McQ, a more renegade lower-priced line for men and women, McQueen had boutiques in London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan and Las Vegas, and many celebrity patrons, including Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Lady Gaga.

When you wear a McQueen outfit, you are going to attract a lot of attention because of his name, the unique style, the fabric, the brilliant tailoring.

Looking at his shows, his most recent creations, and earlier creations, I find myself wondering why women love his things. Models take on the aura of their Master and these models look like soldiers on their way to the front to kill the enemy. Yes, I know, the bored, confident steps, swishy hips, sometimes sassy, other times expressionless face is the way the top models present clothes.

How does the typical high-fashion model's demeanor evolve? I'm guessing that a smile, the look of inner-pride, confidence, pleasure is harder to fake. These models are rushing on and off the stage, harried, hurrying into the next and the next outfit. And their feet must be killing them.

The award- winning burst of red leaves or petals on the model's head in the picture is startling, amazing, and to me, that you can't see the girl is rather horrifying. The shoes the solider girls are wearing are horrifying. The McQ shoes Lady Gaga wore for her "Bad Romance" recording -- those "crab claws" -- are seriously horrifying.

Did McQ hate women? I don't think so. The shape of the clothes, the exciting fabric, the vital colors are great. The fact that McQueen's was stressing "short" short dresses suggests that he loved the leggy look of a woman.

But the foot-wear? McQueen shoes are shockingly decadent. You've heard about Chinese women who were crippled by stylishly "bound" feet. I remember the ultra pointy shoe style of the nineties. I know personally that the four-inch heel is hurtful to the foot and one's posture. The five-inch heel, the McQueen seven-inch heel, the crab claws, and his laced-up tall boot styles -- they look like torture chambers for the foot.

Furthermore, the dark leather, the too-fancy McQ shoe-boot on a two-inch-high wedgey makes the leg look shorter, not longer. The shoe disrupts the leggy-look, and the graceful implications of the tailored tight bodices, and short skirts.

That McQueen creates the graceful feminine look and then defeats it might be a characteristic of a defeated, angry, un-confident, bitchy, frustrated male designer who hates women.

Was he a perverse man, who loved beauty but needed to uglify it?

From what I've observed, I sense that McQueen's need to destroy the overall look of the woman/girl/female was a personal, private, intensely self-indulgent need for decadence.

Oscar Wilde gave a curious definition: "Classicism is the subordination of the parts to the whole; decadence is the subordination of the whole to the parts."

Yes, I think McQueen had a personal passionate need to break rules -- he did it throughout his life. Again and again he tested and destroyed traditions. Perhaps the man needed to deface what he loved, and see, no matter what he did, that what he loved was beautiful. And worth loving.


Carola said...

I have never understood the attaction of these high fashion clothes, especially in recent years. They have nothing to do with what women might want to wear.

Linda Phillips said...

Fascinating take Em and a fascinating man who clearly was a tortured soul. Maybe it was his tortured soul that comes through in that dreadful footwear.

Paul Mendenhall said...

I don't get high fashion these days. I mean, as artistic statements, okay. But why call it fashion? It has nothing to do with what anyone wears anymore. Remember when people actually wore designs by Mainbocher, Chanel, etc? I don't understand what is the financial basis of the industry now.

Whenver I see the name Givenchy, I remember a funny lyric by Lerner from "Coco:"

"To all Paree, she's
From a primeval species.
To Givenchy, she's
At the end of the line..."

Terry said...

Anyone who would put a woman's foot in one of those monstrosities metaphorically deserved to hang. Maybe it was guilt. TLC