Saturday, October 9, 2010

Alexander McQueen: A Legacy in Fashion.

Alexander McQueen, fashion show king, died from an apparent suicide this year. McQueen (whose real name was Lee Alexander Mcqueen) was known for dressing everyone from Lady Gaga to Rihanna, as well as for his work at Givenchy and on his own Alexander McQueen label. From Alexander McQueen's controversial collections, to his title as 'l'enfant terrible,' his fashion is certainly his legacy. Here's a look back at McQueen's best runway moments. Trust me folks, there's a reason this man was an icon in the gay community, a legend in the fashion community and an inspiration for many.

1.      Bad  Romance.

For his spring 2010 finale, Alexander Mcqueen combined the futuristic with the fantastical, and set the whole thing to "Bad Romance" by his muse Lady Gaga. Between the sky-high, hoof-like platforms, the romantic-meets-robotic tutu-tiered bodices and the over the top theatricality of the presentation, the show was pure fashion magic. And pure McQueen.

2.      The Future.

For fall/winter 2009, McQueen jumpstarted two major trends of the season, black and white and bright red lips. And, he took fashionistas through a retrospective of the best technical achievements of the past few years in fashion. From exquisite Balenciaga-like feats of gravity-defying volume to tight tailoring and Galliano-like gowns, he interpreted the greatest hits of his peers in a way that was still totally true to himself. And, he did it all with a crazy futuristic vibe that combined a massive, black junk pile with plastic-wrapped models in bonnets. Totally unique, and totally McQueen.

3.      Lady Gaga.

Lately, it seems the fashion world has gone gaga for Lady Gaga's outlandish outfits - many of which came directly from Alexander McQueen. Lady Gaga has worn his creations, and creations inspired by his unique aesthetic, all over the red carpet and the stage. But perhaps, the best example of the pair's collaboration can be seen in the singer's video for her single "Bad Romance," in which she rocks signature McQueen pieces - form-fitting bodysuits, towering platforms and imaginative creations that are both futuristic and retro, technical and romantic.

4.      Wierd Science.

Yes, those are robots spraying the paint on that pretty white tube dress. In spring 2009, McQueen capped off a show by having robots spray paint a simple white dress in what was ostensibly a comment on the whole couture scene, and an experiment in the idea that anyone can create the kind of beauty McQueen could. I'm not sure if I wholly buy into the idea, but I certainly buy into the robot paint dress as a gorgeous and fascinating aesthetic experiment.

5.      Kate Moss Hologram.

Way before Wolf Blitzer busted out the hologram trick on CNN, McQueen had a holographic Kate Moss towering over his 2006 show. Moss, dressed in cascading tiers of organza ruffles, floated over the proceedings like a giant sartorial specter. While the show itself went from pre-Raphaelite romance to powerful punk-inspired accessories, it was the Kate Moss hologram that people couldn't stop talking about. Yet another example of McQueen's theatrical flair, and the expert way he combined creative elements from all disciplines of design.

6.      Checkmate.

In 2005, McQueen staged a human chess game as his runway show. As a disembodied robotic voice called out the moves, models were moved and sacrificed in what could be construed as a commentary on fashion, on modeling, on art or on any number of other things. Deeper meanings aside, the chess game was the perfect backdrop for McQueen's collection of Alice-In-Space-Odyssey-Wonderland garb. From the gorgeous gowns to the flirty cocktail dresses to the sky-high hair and theatrical score, the show was yet another example of McQueen's unique ability to turn a fashion show into a real show.

7.      Deliverance.

McQueen turned the traditional fashion show narrative on its head with his spring/summer 2004 fashion show, inspired by the film "They Shoot Horses, Don't They." He started the show with evening gowns, and gradually progressed to consciously threadbare day-wear and the homespun elegance of a tarnished evening gown. Never one to do things conventionally, McQueen helped kick-start fashion's move towards the Americana-inspired Western styles we still see on the streets today, and once again, did something completely new and exciting at the same time.

8.      Michelle Obama.

Yes, even Michelle Obama wore McQueen this past year. Proving that for all of his theatricality and glamour, the man was also a brilliant designer who churned out the kind of figure-flattering, quality pieces that any woman could wear. From the outlandish to the office-appropriate, McQueen leaves behind a legacy of innovation, imagination and pure, unfettered enthusiasm for fashion in all of its gorgeous, glamorous glory.

R.I.P to a complete genius.