The world loses a great, influential designer

Headlines on Feb. 11 announced the beginning of New York Fashion Week and the end of Alexander McQueen’s life. McQueen was known for his risqué and surrealistic designs. His pieces were cutting-edge and one step ahead, yet somehow, simultaneously, timeless. But McQueen always wanted to design “for posterity”; he once commented, “People who buy McQueen are going to hand the clothes down to their children, and that’s very rare today.” It was this goal that immediately attracted me to McQueen’s designs: He aspired to create and maintain a fashion line with longevity rather than a clothing line full of endlessly shape-shifting, overly trendy garments just waiting to be cast aside for next season’s most wanted.

McQueen, often called “the hooligan of English fashion,” was known for his high-end, avant-garde collections. The whimsical pieces truly emulate the designer’s persona and his eccentricity. Both of the designer’s fashion lines, McQueen and McQ, brought him great success and notoriety, and his wide-range of clientele included musicians and celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama.

Although the style of McQueen’s work varies greatly overall, his thought-provoking design tactics, artful incorporation of technology, impeccable tailoring and runway showmanship are all easily detected in his October 2009 runway collection, Plato’s Atlantis, for Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear (see the collection at style.com). For this dramatic display, McQueen utilized new computer technologies to digitally print images onto his pieces. The texture of his dresses and trousers resembled the skin of sea creatures; the shapes of his shoes were bulky, almost hooflike; the demeanor of his models were extenuated by their hairstyles, all worn tight and slick with two horn-like points in front.

McQueen has been four-times named “British Designer of the Year.” The Council of Fashion Designers of America previously proclaimed McQueen to be International Designer of the Year. We must commemorate Alexander McQueen’s life and career as a fashion designer, an artist with immense talent and endless creativity.

Whether his fashion was suitable for all tastes seems irrelevant — rather, his unquestionable impact upon the fashion industry that is important. In light of McQueen’s death, I suggest that we all step out of our box a bit — test our creativities, try on fashion with a different approach.

For something new, work a few fashions or styles greatly popularized by McQueen into your own wardrobe:

  • Skull-patterns
  • Futuristic shapes
  • Sculptural, unique shoes
  • Embroidery and lace
  • Angular suiting
  • Mini dresses
  • Crystals of all colors and hues
  • Snakeskin
  • Nature-inspired prints
  • Geometric patterns
  • 80s inspirations
  • British tailoring
  • French couture
  • Hourglass silhouettes
  • Elizabeth Taylor/Cleopatra-like make-up
  • Frock coats
  • Romantic, intricate detail
  • Red-carpet ready attire
  • Low-rise pants and jeans (‘bumsters’)
  • Color-blocks
  • High-drama

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