Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Lee Alexander McQueen's last words.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was desperate to see the collection that Alexander McQueen was working on when he committed suicide last month. It was his Autumn 2010 Collection and there was some speculation as to whether it was going to be showcased. Luckily for us however, the fashion world just couldn’t resist.

Of the collection, there were only sixteen outfits that were 80% finished - his team finished them after his death and they were shown as a series of private presentations at Hotel de Clermont-Tonnerre on Monday 9th March 2010. In total, the clothes have been shown to a mere seventy or so people including a handful of fashion editors and the boss of Gucci group. McQueen’s design team are currently working on finishing the menswear and diffusion line collections which were also in progress before McQueen’s death.

It’s clear that the pieces were heavily inspired by religion and religious artwork through his usage of black, red, white and gold throughout the collection. I find this prospect somewhat disturbing when taking into consideration that he was designing these just before he took his own life – what did he mean for this collection to say to us?

There was a serenity and innocence about some of his pieces. One dress in particular caught my attention - a white angelic floor length piece with gold embroideries down the front and around the trail. It doesn’t take a genius, or even an expert in fashion to see that this dress was inspired by angels.

Alternatively, the collection also consisted of garments with a much darker feel to them. Take for example this black shin length cape, encrusted with golden tigers and heraldic embroidery worn with a strange and mysterious headpiece. There is just simply something dark and sinister about some of the collection in contrast to some of the serene, elegant dresses – the conflict between good and evil?

Sarah Wade, managing editor of mpdclick.com, once said to me that McQueen’s collections “illustrate a story that he is trying to tell”, and this was his last ever story; his last words in fashion form. We can never be certain as to what his last story was…but we can have a guess at the story behind this collection – A story of passion, determination, happiness, sadness, life and death.

I’ll end with some good news to lighten the sombre tone! Despite that being the last ever collection by Lee Alexander McQueen, it will not be the last collection to bear his name. A week after his death it was announced that the label would continue, however there has been no announcement as of yet to declare who will take McQueen’s place.

“There is no doubt that McQueen’s final collection was a triumph.”, said Jess Cartner-Morely in her very own personal account of McQueen’s last collection in The Guardian. “But there seems little to rejoice when there is no one to congratulate.”

- Toni Caroline


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