Death sometimes initiates hyperbole of praise. This is not one of those times. Alexander McQueen was an artist. That distinction makes him a rare breed in fashion, one of only a handful of modern designers whose names even make it into the discussion.
Yet while identifying him as an artist, it is essential as well to celebrate McQueen as an extraordinary designer of fashion, one who not only could, but did, make beautiful clothes for women to wear. His career-long struggle to succeed commercially involved numerous factors, but definitely not on the list was a lack of interest in, or the inability to create, clothes for life beyond the runway.
This story first appeared in the February 12, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A LOOK AT THE MAJOR THEMES THROUGHOUT MCQUEEN’S CAREER>>
Funneled through his complicated personality, McQueen’s talent manifested in a likewise complicated and intense aesthetic, one marked by an ongoing counterpoint between aggression and romance. The two sides variously coexisted and clashed. Either way, McQueen displayed a theatrical brilliance that awed his audiences. But then, from the beginning, he proved a captivating storyteller, creating deeply realized characters through fashion. He rocketed to attention in London with shockingly cool crowd-pleasers such as 1995’s “The Highland Rape,” its cast done up in outrageous tattered tartans and pants, which sat dangerously low on the hips.
When he crossed the channel from London to Paris for a brief stint at Givenchy, the turmoil of which was well-documented, McQueen thrust himself under a new level of scrutiny. From then on he would be judged on fashion’s most competitive and high-profile stage, and if his intensity and wild motifs were often at least as disturbing as they were chic, his obvious passion elicited endless reciprocal passions, whether of admiration or dismay. After he fled LVMH for the more simpatico Gucci Group, he embarked upon an amazing creative roll, turning out, in relatively short order, shows that told stories of a shipwreck, a dance marathon, a human chess game. These amazed while flaunting McQueen’s range as a designer, from the impeccable Savile Row-nurtured tailoring to strident strokes of S&M, to magical gowns as likely to be crafted from hand-painted plaster or real, full-bloom roses as from chiffons and tulles.
Well, we weren't joking about landing a job upon the merit of your university work. Roxanne Palmer, another one of our students from London College of Fashion part of the University of Arts London managed to land herself an internship with Alexander McQueen, British luxury fashion house and designer of Kate Middleton’s mesmerising wedding dress. Roxanne's internship involved work during London Fashion week and illustrating the designs on the catwalk.
So what was the work Roxanne produced to land her the internship?
Roxanne’s university project required her to create illustrations for a designer’s seasonal look book. Roxanne chose Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection. The illustrations were to reflect the style of the brand and we certainly think Roxanne’s drawings captured the collection – “a study of femininity looking at erotica, vargas girls, cages, corsets and crinolines and the idealisation of the female form.”
We worked with Roxanne in our studio to create the perfect finish for the lookbook. We printed, hard case bound, and embossed the title on a gold foil creating a truly elegant effect.
We're still following Roxanne whilst she is undertaking her final year at University and the fashion illustrations she is producing are just amazing! You can check out more of the Alexander McQueen illustrations she created on her Facebook page and have a look at some of the other works she has been creating.
We also have worked with Roxanne on producing her Illustrated Report, a project she undertook whilst interning with Monkee Genes and Gothenburg boots, as well as illustrating for stylist Kim Howells for London Fashion Week. What's more, Roxanne recently designed a cushion that featured in London's Metro Newspaper the UK's 3rd largest newspaper- nice one!
Roxanne we're looking forward to seeing you in our studio again soon so we can cast our eyes on your next fabulous piece of work!