With the death of this super-talented designer everything has changed. The show he had planned wasn’t appropriate to present. Instead a quiet and very private show was organized in a gilded salon at the headquarters of Francois Pinault. Only very close people were invited.
Alexander McQueen Chief Executive Jonathan Akeroyd explained the decision to cancel the original catwalk show in favour of private presentations:
He very much had a vision for his show concept, but it didn’t feel right to do that without him. We decided this was the best way to do it in a very low profile environment – the most appropriate way in light of what has happened.”
The Independent‘s Susannah Frankel added:
This was a heartbreakingly beautiful and perfectly judged tribute to one of the greatest talents the fashion industry has known, realised by a tightly knit and gifted group of people who have protected his name and what it stands for since he started out.”
The collection included 16 outfits inspired by Byzantine art and Old Masters paintings as well as wood carving and sculpture of Grinling Gibbons. Models walked slowly and solemnly to haunting operatic music. And some guests couldn’t fight back their tears.
Talking about how the collection was created Sarah Burton, McQueen’s right hand, said the designer had turned away from the world of the Internet, which he had so powerfully harnessed in his last show.
He wanted to get back to the handcraft he loved, and the things that are being lost in the making of fashion. He was looking at the art of the Dark Ages, but finding light and beauty in it. He was coming in every day, draping and cutting pieces on the stand.”
When the tragedy happened the 16 looks of the range was 80 per cent ready.
Jonathan Akeroyd commented:
It was well under way and the development was very much in final stages, so it was just about carrying on finishing the pieces… we had four weeks to finish his work, basically.”
The collection includes chic pieces made of fabric that translated digital photographs of paintings of high-church angels and Bosch demons. Designs are innovative and extraordinary and colors are royal and luxurious: gold, deep red, black and pure white. Feathered headwear looked strange but it definitely matched the outfits.
Suzy Menkes, of the New York Times, called the show ‘a requiem for a great designer:
His vision of Gothic glory, with a world bathed in religious symbolism, was translated not just with immense subtlety and beauty but also with the urgent futurism that was the essence of his spirit.”
The show notes finished with the words: “Each piece is unique, as was he.” Nothing more is to say here.
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