Sunday, 5 July 2015

For Dearest Lee

I can't remember the turning point but I can remember being 13 and my tutor made me present a talk on something that inspired me, at that time I'd first started dipping my toe into fashion, buying Teen Vouge rather than Girl Talk (because it was about real fashion) and wearing bright blue clumpy mascara (which will forever be the significant motif of the early years of puberty)


I chose Alexander Mcqueen because for me, he was fashion.
Beauty. Terror. Lust. Heartbreak. Sexuality. Disgust. Politics. Art
All encapsulated in the fine stitching of his garments.


I can remember being 14 and hearing the news. 

on the afternoon of 11 February 2010. In the morning, his housekeeper found him hanging at his home on Green Street, London W1. Paramedics were called and pronounced him dead at the scene

I can't quiet encompass what I felt, because at that time he was just the brand, beautiful designs that shocked and inspired the artist hidden behind the layers of a reclusive ill young teen. The images of him, those soulful eyes and the shy smile as he hurriedly moved down the runway at the end of his shows quickly waving at the crowd with an embarrassed shuffle.

As the years passed and McQueen stayed frozen in time for those five years, neither forgotten nor over exposed, existing without imposing on the art world in the way that I think all artists would like to be remembered after they're gone - forever relevant without being exploited. 
I feel a McQueen garment will never be irrelevant, shoved in the back of a display cabinet in a museum, behind some gaudy faux nighties body-con dress that educates visitors on 'the fashions of the day' Or even worse locked away in storage while the princess it belongs too runs lost through whatever jungle McQueen had pulled from his imagination.

The V&A exhibit really did it.
As we queued up behind the doors, shoes tapping along the tiles that are the spitting image of the ones in my hall, a wave of fear hit me.
I'd never meet him.
No matter how hard I tried, how much I pushed myself, what course I got onto (or didn't get onto).
I'd never meet him.

And it was a shock, to realize that I wouldn't get to see in person the man who I equated the whole of fashion, the only career I can see myself in. 

So I do as I always do when I feel like I've missed out. I consume.
I watch every interview, retrospective and catwalk I can until I can replay them in my mind, I want to read all the books I can about him and his collections and the brand as a whole. I'm planning another visit to see the exhibition (perks of V&A membership card) and I will continue to draw and study his work, 

I want to end this weird sad nonsensical thing, that was written at 3 in the morning after returning home from 10 days traveling round Sweden, with the journal pages I made during and after the exhibition.

The explination for visiting on the left here sounds so sterile only because it was written to give a reason to my art foundation why I'd gone.

The thing in the middle was some organza that my friend melted with the heat gun at uni and said it looked like both a McQueen design and my alien figure drawings.

I want to leave with McQueen's suicide note because it has always sat heavily with me.

Look after my dogs, sorry, I love you, Lee.



(for any poor soul who couldn't get tickets, it really does show the beauty of the exhibition)


  1. That suicide note is so heartbreaking. Alexander McQueen was a genius. It's so sad to think he couldn't go on anymore.

    On a lighter note, we were the same with the blue, clumpy mascara. xoxo

    1. blue mascara clumps were the best + worst xxx