The word “icon” gets tossed around too lightly, too quickly. This month the world lost a true fashion icon, and under unbelievably tragic circumstances.
This week it was confirmed that Alexander McQueen took his own life. He left behind a note, the contents of which are yet to be revealed. It’s hard to imagine the kind of psychic pain he must have been in, the kind of heartbreak he must have been feeling, to decide to end a life so full, so fabulous, so inspiring to so many.
Celebrities have given their condolences through interviews and through Twitter. Naomi and Kate paid tribute in his dresses. Lady Gaga dedicated a performance to her fashion mentor, at the Brit Awards.
The fashion world is still reeling. His passing came at the onset of New York Fashion Week, and led to a scrambled cancellation of his McQ presentation. London’s Fashion Week just kicked off, and a memorial wall to McQueen is proving to be a sort of mecca for fashionistas there. Right now it seems like everyone wants to leave a note or a flower outside his store. Everyone wants a McQueen item in their wardrobe.
The business world waits for no one, and offers no grace period for grief. Gucci will continue Alexander McQueen’s label, the tributes will continue for a while, and inevitably scandalous speculation and criticism will begin (see Toby Young’s piece for example).
And the fashion world keeps turning. It’ll remain to be seen if his fashion line will retain or increase its success in his wake. It’s hard to imagine the landscape of contemporary fashion without him.
RIP, Alexander McQueen. You will be missed, you will be celebrated, you will never be forgotten.