The U.K.’s Daily Mail broke the story of Alexander McQueen’s suicide. The Mail story is here.
UPDATE: Many news outlets, including the Guardian, are running this statement from McQueen’s office: “On behalf of Lee McQueen’s family, Alexander McQueen today announces the tragic news that Lee McQueen, the founder and designer of the Alexander McQueen brand, has been found dead at his home. At this stage it is inappropriate to comment on this tragic news beyond saying that we are devastated and are sharing a sense of shock and grief with Lee’s family. Lee’s family has asked for privacy in order to come to terms with this terrible news and we hope the media will respect this.”
Here’s a story on McQueen’s last tweets. His Twitter feed has been removed.
I’m not going to add any more breaking news links to this post for the moment, but I will add links to more in-depth news coverage later. For now, I’ll just share this McQueen runway footage, which I’ve always thought was the most beautiful runway I’d ever seen.
UPDATED TO ADD: Earlier this week, I posted about breaking the closet-cleaning rules to keep important clothing — even pieces that haven’t been worn in years. In addition to the vest I wrote about, I’ve kept a lot of beautiful suits from my corporate days, which ended in 2005. I was thinking of the suits when I wrote this week’s post and of one in particular. With sheer jacket insets, a matching sheer camisole and a short snug skirt with a surprising ruffle in the back, it was an outrageous outfit for the investment bank at which I worked. I last wore the suit in 2004. I wondered if the skirt was too short for me now and whether I could wear it to dinner or a party this summer without looking too corporate. I thought, “Maybe I really won’t ever get to wear it again, but I’m still going to keep it.” Good thing. How terrible would I feel right now if I’d gotten rid of this Alexander McQueen?
Moral: Spend your money on the very, very best and keep it forever.
UPDATED AGAIN TO ADD: Here is a list of notable McQueen tributes and obituaries.
- Tina Gaudoin of The Wall Street Journal remembers that “At one of his shows, he made it rain on the runway.”
- Cathy Horyn, The New York Times, calls McQueen “funny and rude and fearless.”
- A list of memorable runway moments by Grazia notes “McQueen never went in for a deconstructed, raggedy style – his garments were always perfectly finished…”
- The New York Times obituary says, “In a story he repeated on some occasions but at other times denied, he was bored one day and wrote a derogatory slur in the lining of a jacket destined for the Prince of Wales.”
- The Wall Street Journal obituary reports that McQueen’s company became profitable just three years ago.
- The Times of London says, “Colleagues and friends had become concerned at his erratic behaviour.” The Times also has a timeline of its coverage of McQueen.
- The Telegraph says McQueen was “talented, generous, and shy in private, gap-toothed, foul-mouthed and chippy in public.”
- Time Magazine says, “McQueen died in the same way he did everything else: unexpectedly, controversially and as unbelievably as possible.”
- Salon.com says, “For every 1,000 so-called designers who pin a piece of jersey around a mannequin and call it fashion, there’s only one McQueen …”
- In 2008, model Abbey Lee Kershaw fainted on McQueen’s runway. Last year, she declined to walk in his Armadillo shoes.
- In 1999, while working for Givenchy, McQueen sent amputee athlete Aimee Mullins down the runway wearing elaborately carved wooden legs that he designed for her.
- Make It Work! posted the video of Shalom Harlow being painted on stage by two robots during the Spring 1999 show.
- New York Times, October 2007
- New York Times, October 2003
- Suzy Menkes, October 2003
- Suzy Menkes, March 1998, reviewed McQueen’s collection for Givenchy.
- Suzy Menkes, July 1997, describes McQueen taking a bow with a falcon perched on his wrist.
- McQueen is name-checked in Fashion Babylon.
- The Times of London and New York Magazine published articles on Isabella Blow, McQueen’s great friend and patron, after she killed herself in 2007.
- The Daily Mail, which beat all other sources on the McQueen news by a wide margin, wrote this 2007 article on Blow.
- David LaChapelle photographed McQueen and Blow for Vanity Fair in 1996.
- This 2001 article tells how Tom Ford helped persuade McQueen to sell a majority stake in his line to the owners of Gucci. Good quotes from Isabella Blow and McQueen.
- In 2004, the Guardian had McQueen’s mother, Joyce, interview her son. This is the interview where Joyce asked, “What is your most terrifying fear?” and McQueen answered, “Dying before you.” (Joyce died on February 2 after what has been described as “a long illness.” According to some reports, her funeral was scheduled to be held on February 12, the day after McQueen was found dead.)
- In 2003, Isabella Blow told Ingrid Sischy, “I think McQueen wants to be a bird — and he’s as wild as one, too.”
- The New York Times quoted McQueen as saying, “Give me time and I’ll give you revolutionary” in 2001.
- An excerpt from a 1996 New Yorker story is here. It quotes McQueen as describing himself as “the faggot in the family who was drawing frocks since I was 3 years old.” A 1997 New Yorker story said, “McQueen resembles an oversized baby: one has the desire to coddle or spank him.”
UPDATED ON FEBRUARY 12:
- The Wall Street Journal reports that McQueen’s company is urgently calling back all samples.
- Entertainment Weekly described the scene at McQueen’s New York store yesterday.
- The Times of London reports on speculation that Gucci, the majority owner of the McQueen, will close the barely profitable label in the wake of the designers death.
- Gucci is owned by PPR, a French conglomerate. Francois-Henry Pinault, the chairman and chief executive officer of PPR, offered condolences to McQueen’s family, friends and colleagues. (Trivia: Pinault is married to actress Salma Hayek.)
- The Telegraph (Australia) quotes from an unpublished interview done for Harper’s Bazaar’s Australian edition in which McQueen spoke about breaking up with an Australian boyfriend whose name he’d had tattooed on his arm: “(He was) a bastard who went back to Australia and I was left looking at his name.”
More details on his death:
- The Daily Mail reports that McQueen had attempted suicide on more than one occasion. It quotes one friend as saying McQueen had been badly affected by the death of his mother: “But he wouldn’t get out of bed, he just couldn’t get up. He hasn’t even been to any of his fittings for the show.” The family held Joyce McQueen’s funeral today as originally planned.
UPDATED FEBRUARY 14:
- McQueen’s ex-partner George Forsyth tells the Daily Mail about their wild party days.
- In The Guardian, Alex Bilmes recalls McQueen saying, “Glamorous? I’ve got odd socks on! I bought these socks in a sports shop and I thought it said Nike on them, but it says Hike.”
- The Times of London mentions the professional tension between Isabella Blow and McQueen: she felt she should be on the payroll and he resented being referred to as her discovery.
- Vogue contributing editor Plum Sykes reminisces about the wedding dress McQueen made for her as well as the time he stood her up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala.
UPDATED FEBRUARY 17:
- The inquest into McQueen’s death heard that the designer left a note before hanging himself. His sister identified the body.
UPDATED FEBRUARY 18:
- Gucci Group says the McQueen label will continue.
UPDATED FEBRUARY 19:
UPDATED FEBRUARY 21:
- In a story for the Daily Beast, photographer David LaChapelle says, “I think he was waiting for his mother to die so he could do this. I think suicide was a visitor who’d come many times and he was waiting to let them in, because he didn’t want to punish his mom while she was alive.”
UPDATED FEBRUARY 25:
- Kate Moss and Daphne Guinness were among the attendees at McQueen’s funeral.
- Masters of Style documentary (thanks to Jennine for pointing it out)
- 1997 interview with Charlie Rose (via Huffington Post)
UPDATED APRIL 29:
- McQueen’s ashes are to be scattered on the Isle of Skye.
- An inquest heard that McQueen hanged himself after taking drugs. He left a suicide note.
UPDATED MAY 30, 2010:
- A Times of London story with interviews with McQueen’s friends.