I feel compassioned to write something in response to this article written by Toby Young for The Telegraph http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100025884/alexander-mcqueen-genius-or-just-charismatic/
A few extracts;
"Reading the reports of Alexander McQueen’s death you would think we had lost an Oscar Wilde or a Jimi Hendrix.
"He (McQueen) was one of those people who used his shyness as a weapon — a form of passive aggression. When he finally appeared on set, at least two hours late, he was surrounded by flunkies and skulked around at the edges, radiating hostility. The impression he gave was that participating in a photo shoot for Vanity Fair — a privilege that would vastly inflate the amount of money he could extract from credulous advertising agencies
"It took a while, but I finally realised that there’s no such thing as talent in fashion — at least, not in the sense in which it’s normally understood. Unlike literature or music, it simply isn’t clear which designer has talent and which hasn’t. One person puts together a collection in which the models appear in dustbin liners, another in which they’re sporting sackcloth, and who’s to say which collection embodies the “Zeitgeist”?
"But, overwhelmingly, it’s about the charisma of the designer in question. How much force of personality does he or she possess? Typically, a top designer secures an audience with the high arbiters of international style before he unveils his collection and that is his chance to impose himself, to convince the panel of judges that he’s in possession of some supernatural connection to the sturm and drang of contemporary culture. How does he do this? Sometimes by being emphatic and stern-faced, like Karl Lagerfeld: “Achtung! Achtung! Pink is the new black.”
"So that’s my verdict on Alexander McQueen. Not a “genius”, unless by that you mean a gift for self-presentation. But someone who managed to survive at the top of a very competitive game for over 10 years through sheer force of personality."
Ignorant people commenting on things they know nothing about infuriates me. Just because you can't see something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. How can you say there is no talent in fashion? What a ridiculous statement.
It sounds like you met the guy once Toby. McQueen didn't play on his self-presentation, his image was the complete opposite of his clothes. His weight fluctuated, he never seemed that fussed about his appearance because it didn't matter, his clothes and talent took him way beyond that. I'm angry about this because I'm selfish, I wanted more from McQueen, I didn't want him to stop working. Every fashion week I would look to see what he was doing and that wont be there anymore. His label is finished, it's over, gone. I'm gutted, I didn't think I'd feel this strongly but then neither did I think this would happen. I feel like I know how a Michael Jackson fan felt last Summer. Reading some of the comments on the BBC news website - they've deleted the worst ones - saying things like, they can't believe a fashion designer's death gets so much news coverage, or things like, he was a glorified seamstress that made disgusting clothes, it shows the level of ignorance and stupidity. You don't have to love his work or even like it, the man died, don't say anything if you have nothing nice to say.
People are going on about his 'Bumster' trousers, that was a blip, that got his name known, that's how you get noticed in fashion but things went way beyond that. The 'Bumster' tag makes him sound like a Mugatu from Zoolander type designer of unwearable clothes, but no matter how extravagant the show, it would always translate into something desirable and wearable in the store, and women of all ages and sizes could wear his clothes. Jeff Banks last night on TV saying his downfall was that he wasn't very commercial. He had shops in London, New York, LA, Milan, Las Vegas, two fragrances, a massive diffusion line, he actually sold those couture dresses he designed - I was in the shop once when an arab princess quietly ordered an £8000 dress - and sold millions of pounds worth of goods yet still kept his strong artistic vision. What, just because he didn't sell out to Sainsbury's he's not considered commercial? He had the kind of success every young designer at the forthcoming London Fashion Week dreams about; continuing a no-holds-barred mainline collection while running a major business. Gucci Group saw the massive potential of the McQueen brand when they bought into it. Alexander McQueen set the standard every season and will leave a very large and talented void.