Thursday, 11 February 2010
"RIP mumxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" - Lee Alexander McQueen; 1969-2010
Today the world was rocked by the unexpected death of one of the fashion industry's most popular haute-couture designers, Alexander McQueen. At just 40 years old, McQueen was in the prime of his career, having designed for royalty and celebrities alike; expressing his quirky creativity through his cloth-based creations.
Lee Alexander McQueen knew he wanted to be a fashion designer from an early age, and via developing his skills as an apprentice in Savile Row for tailors Gieves and Hawkes, he enrolled for the MA (Hons.) Fashion Design course at the University of Arts London's Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in 1994. It was there that his work was spotted by former Director of Tatler Magazine Isabella Blow, whom bought his entire graduation show collection. The BBC's obituary on the designer's passing writes that "Blow is also said to have persuaded him to change his name from Lee to Alexander - his middle name - when he launched his career". He was to be thrust into the limelight of glitz and glamour instantaneously.
Fashion giants Givenchy appointed McQueen to be Head Designer of the French powerhouse in 1996. He also worked together with Gucci, with the Italians buying up 51% of the Alexander McQueen company - but with McQueen himself remaining firmly behind the helm as Creative Director. Gaining these positions together with successfully winning the prestigious British Designer of the Year award four times between 1996 and 2003; McQueen cemented his status as a truly globally recognised force within the fashion industry. He was also acknowledged by the Queen for his outstanding contributions, thus receiving a CBE in 2003.
However; in 2007 McQueen's mentor Blow committed suicide from an overdose of weedkiller having learnt that she had ovarian cancer. Then, just last week - Lee's mother Joyce (pictured here with Lee) passed away. Daily Mail's article relays that On February 3rd, he wrote: 'I'm letting my followers know my mother passed away yesterday if it she had not me nor would you RIP mumxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx...' Moments later, he added: 'But life must go on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'. Joyce's funeral was due to take place tomorrow, when McQueen's body was found dead this morning in his Mayfair, Central London home.
The loss of Lee's mother was just too much for him to take - and even though he had achieved so much in his life to date, he couldn't imagine going on without the support of his mum to be there for him as he continues to actively live out his dreams. She was there for him all the way, and showed her unconditional love for her son by sticking by him when he came out as a gay man. I'm sure the deep bond they must have shared between each other was strong inside him in spirit, but having his mum no longer there physically must have been [understandably] just too painful to endure.
The love for your family, friends and anyone close to you is important above all else. Whether it be accumulating material wealth, having a successful career, or gaining some sort of social status, it all pails in comparison to being in the presence of those who really mean something to you. Alexander McQueen would give a limb just to have his mum give him a huge hug and tell him that she loves him and is proud of him. Many of us are in the position to do this to our loved ones - so please show your love and appreciation whilst you have the chance, as much as you can.