I got the news, oddly enough, from Janet Jackson.
Odder still was that her words had been the very ones with which others had eulogized Michael, her brother, merely eight months earlier. I’m guessing that memory was heavy in her heart Thursday afternoon.
“Today we lost a True Genius, Alexander McQueen,” Janet, shown right at the opening of MCQueen’s L.A. store in 2008, posted on Twitter. “He possessed a unique creativity that will never b recaptured.”
Lee Alexander McQueen was allegedly found Thursday morning in his $1M apartment by workers, hanged by his own hand at the age of 40. Police carried his body from the home, right, before it was taken away by private ambulance, according to The Daily Mail.
Reportedly, McQueen had been despondent over the recent death of his mother, Joyce, and, reading from the bottom, up, had apparently posted these tweets a mere eight days before his death:
Widely credited with kicking British fashion into the 21st century a decade early—McQueen sold his company in 1991; 51% of it was folded into Gucci for £13.6 million in 2000—he remained the very Oxford definition of l’enfant terrible. He had a startling, savage talent and his couture, right, always teetered daringly on knife edges of chaos and assault. As he, himself, once said in an interview,
When you see a woman wearing McQueen, there’s a certain hardness to the clothes that makes her look powerful. It kind of fends people off. You have to have a lot of balls to talk to a woman wearing my clothes.
Yet, as an immensely skilled tailor in the tradition of Savile Row, where he’d once worked, he could also fashion stunningly classic, rich lines, as demonstrated in this crimson dress, worn by singer Mary J. Blige, below.
Though not a household name, on the level of Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren, McQueen’s talent was so big that his every show was an event. His death has devastated the fashion world, and close friends. Model Kate Moss—McQueen stands between her and model Naomi Campbell, atop this post—whom McQueen publicly supported during her drug problems, is said to be inconsolable.
Finally, so brightly did McQueen’s light burn in his life that, with his tragic death, lovers of his clothing are buying everything in sight, even as analysts report that, the brand “is likely to be abandoned by Gucci Group.” The king is dead. Long live the king.