Did McQueen's Fall 2009 Collection Presage His Death?

What Women Really Think
Feb. 12 2010 7:35 AM

Did McQueen's Fall 2009 Collection Presage His Death?


It's hard not to speculate about the suicide of Alexander McQueen: What drove him to tie a noose and hang himself? Various possibilities have been trotted out. There is the 2007 suicide of his earliest supporter and confidant Isabella Blow, the woman who singlehandedly lifted him out from poverty. She tracked him down after his student show at Central Saint Martin's in 1991 and bought his collection for 5,000 pounds, which McQueen promptly hand-delivered-in trash bags.


McQueen suffered another great loss last week. His beloved mother Joyce died. She was his greatest booster. I don't mean to diminish his suffering, but perhaps we should pause for a moment and look back at his recent dystopian work-because the man was a genius artist, and there was a perceptible shift that occurred one year ago in his fall 2009 collection .

Critic Sarah Mower wrote this after viewing:

It was certainly meant as a last-stand fin de siècle blast against the predicament in which fashion, and possibly consumerism as a whole, finds itself. The set was a scrap heap of debris from the stages of McQueen's own past shows, surrounded by a shattered glass runway. The clothes were, for the most part, high-drama satires of twentieth-century landmark fashion: parodies of Christian Dior houndstooth New Look and Chanel tweed suits, moving through harsh orange and black harlequinade looks to revisited showstoppers from McQueen's own archive

As I clicked through the slides, I felt despair and sorrow. It was the first time a fashion show-viewed on a laptop screen in slideshow format, no less-made me cry. The trash-bag fabrics, the recycled silhouettes, the magpie prints, the grotesque red lips parodying cosmetic surgery ... the scrap heap. The show was not suggestive of anything. It was retrospective, darker than anything I have ever seen on a catwalk. I wondered: What else can he say? I considered the possibility that the show might be his last. It had all the elements of a grand farewell.

The genius took his own life, but his work remains. Of course McQueen will never run out things to say.

Photograph from Alexander McQueen's 2009 collection by Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.