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.


Kori says:
February 20, 2010, 5:52 pm
words can't express how much he will be missed. he was my 1st inspiration.
Jasmine says:
February 20, 2010, 6:42 pm
O please....HE IS A COWARD!!!! Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. And to have him here like some sought of "icon?" I am so sick of people worshiping these fools who take their lives a life given to them by God! You have people in Haiti and all around the world dying, and without food to eat or a roof over their heads. That t-shirt is atotal disrespect to God!
Jessica says:
February 20, 2010, 6:44 pm
God cannot save McQueen! He surrendered his soul to the devil when he committed suicide! His action was total disrespect to God!.
brian says:
February 20, 2010, 6:47 pm
Who cares? So some self-centered loser tops himself. It makes me want to throw up to think of all those poor people in Haiti,who have no material possessions, desperate to live and all the young soldiers dying in needless wars and nobody cares, but the minute some over-rated “designer” tops himself every Z-list “celebrity” crawls out of the woodwork to see who can give the most “heartfelt” tribute. SICKENING!
alicia says:
February 20, 2010, 8:51 pm
Unfortunately Alexander McQueen is another example of someone who seemingly had everything but was painfully unhappy. Whatever you think about him personally or the way he died, he was one of the most talented designers of our time. Great post Ms. Bella.
Chloe says:
February 20, 2010, 10:20 pm
I was so saddened to hear about his suicide - he was a great artist, put on some of the best shows, and constructed amazing garments. I was looking forward to seeing his climb into becoming one of the best designers of all time. It is amazing how callous some people are! If he had gotten help for his issues earlier, yes everyone would have been better off, but it is what it is. It is sad that he is dead. The arts are here for a reason; visually stimulating things can bring a little bit of joy in our lives - we should take in all that is offered to us! I will miss his show during the fashion weeks. RIP, Alexander McQueen!
bella says:
February 21, 2010, 3:11 am
"Brian" "Jasmine" "Jessica" I get it. You feel some kinda way about people who commit suicide, it clashes with your religious beliefs. Please don't come here using several fake names, leaving essentially the same comment, to make your point. Of course the tragedy in Haiti outweighs one man's suicide. But you're comparing apples and oranges in the attempt to make your religion-based point. Alexander McQueen's legacy in the design world can't be understated. Regardless of what you think.
anna12 says:
February 21, 2010, 12:47 pm
You are right Bella, for someone as talented as him having to take his life makes you wonder why people do everything to acquire material things. He had everything but he probably lacked love. He had no right to take his life but he did. He must have felt there was nothing to live for. I won't judge him but all this goes to prove that we must pay attention to the things that really matter...friendships, family, giving back to society when you can. Bella, I love what you are doing with the red pump project and for the people in Haiti. We can all help in our little ways, no matter where you are in life someone will be worse off than you are and may just need your help.
LBell says:
February 21, 2010, 12:57 pm
I'm a little behind the curve w.r.t. current Net tech so maybe I'm preaching to the choir but...why do I get the sense that there are people sitting around waiting for bloggers to speak on a particular topic just so they can dive-bomb in and leave their crap all over the comments section? I mean, is that serious? I'll repeat what I said on another site: Nobody ever really truly knows what's going on in somebody else's head or life, which is why we all need to work harder to be more compassionate in our daily lives and to consciously reduce any feelings of envy, jealousy or unfounded judgment we may have towards others. What may look like perfection on the outside may be complete chaos on the inside. Also, remember his mother died only a week or so before. My prayers go out to the McQueen family. I can't imagine how tough this must be for them.
Niki says:
February 22, 2010, 12:36 pm
I'm co-signing with LBell. Seems like some folks have little to do in their own lives if they want to leave several comments on things they supposedly care little about.
flygyrl72 says:
February 22, 2010, 5:11 pm
McQueen's death is truly a tragedy for the fashion world. He was true talent, an original,through & through. Remember the "bumster" pants? He helped jump off the lowrider craze... Anyways, one can never know why someone would choose such a permanent solution, but I do sympathize for the man. His mom had just passed. Now, I know that most don't actually go thru with it, but I've heard people say that they do think of taking their own lives when their mom dies. Haven't been through it personally,thank God, but I can only imagine the kind of heart-breaking grief that accompanies that particular loss. You just can never tell what someone is going through in their own head... RIP, Lee McQueen.
Nia says:
February 22, 2010, 5:57 pm
WOW! I am shocked at the lack of COMPASSION from assumingly religious folks--who have yet to tap into the true spirit of love. I think if we truly captured in our hearts the essence of the commandment, "LOVE ONE ANOTHER" there would be less hurting people. As somoneone who has considered transitioning to a greater place, I am greatful for relationships and the ARTS(music, literature, and even beautiful fashion) that gave me a sense of tangible evidence life in this realm is BEAUTIFUL! To my religious sisters, I pray in your deepest hour of despair you will feel the embrace of DIVINE LOVE. And in turn, be able to give to others in their time of need. Love is a beautiful thang!
Caribbean Girl says:
February 24, 2010, 1:57 am
Really appreciated this post bella. I do not follow fashion anywhere as much as I used to now as we no longer get Fashion File, when it was hosted by Tim Blanks - a totally awesome program. But, Alexander McQueen's shows are etched in my mind. They were mind blowing presentations of sheer genius. I did not always like the clothes, but never could I argue with the artistry and creativity of the presentations. Also, he definitely was a study in the need to sometimes strip down a runway look to arrive at separates or individual looks that you could then blend in a multitude of ways. I was shocked when I saw the news. Rest in peace.
Caribbean Girl says:
February 24, 2010, 2:00 am
On the suicide - I appreciate fully that we are all entitiled to our own opinions. For me, I always say - there but for the grace of God go I. There are, I think, moments in life, where just for a sheer instant, life perhaps seems so overwhelming, and if at that very moment there is no one, or nothing... Judge not, lest ye be judged.