Fashion designers all over the world have always been slightly different from what all consider being the norm or stereotype. The reason behind it being very simple; while the rest kept following the trends, these people set them. All those right from the pages of the history book, who have set their own destination along with the route to reach it, have been found to be slightly different. Be it the great discoverer Christopher Columbus who found his own way to navigate through the toughest shores, or the contemporary fashion designer Alexander McQueen, life has never been easy for them. In an interview to one of the most popular daily, the British designer himself said that life to him was a bit of Brothers Grimm fairytale. While growing up as a son of a cockney cabbie, one could never think of being the renowned fashion designer of the contemporary world. But McQueen has shown it to the entire world and he has proved that life can be a fairy tale as well. Like in most of the fairytales there’s a dark side to it, there was a troubled side to his life as well, which culminated to his unexpected suicide in 2010. But there was the sense of Gothicism that all felt strongly in his fashion just as it was felt in the stories of German Brothers Grimm- through whose pen came out stories like Rapunzel, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel and many more.
McQueen had a keen interest in finding new designs in anything he wore, and he wanted to change the concept of fashion that existed. He believed that anything that one wears was not fashion, anything that is made worn was. Hence, he started crafting designs and theatrical catwalk shows that pushed the boundary of fashion world into an art form- and that made him one of the visionary designers of the entire generation. Rather he had been so famous for walking off the track, that one of his major retrospective, the Savage Beauty has been showcased in a museum that could show all, what sell out exhibition should be like. While the entire fashion world is ruled by the number of catwalk shows held every day, one must learn from the catwalks that Alexander organized. It was not only purely lyrical, but the creative vision was an integral part of the elaborate narratives that the shows depicted. Not just the dress that the models wore on the ramps, but even the accessories like Alexander McQueen handbags and head gears had a story in itself to say or played an eminent role in complimenting the entire plot.
Alexander McQueen in one of his last autumn/winter collections named The Girl Who Lived in the Tree came up with an inspiration that he drew from a 600 year old elm tree which still holds high in the designer’s country home. The entire catwalk show told the story of how a girl climbs down the tree to meet his prince charming, and the entire fashion industry claims it to be one of the most beautiful collections of McQueen in his entire career. It had some of the most opulent designs which were crafted neatly on the sumptuous silk, embellished with the finest Swarovski crystals. The Gothic sensibility was always held strong in his designs and he loved the melancholia that the Victorian era had in its essence. In most of his graduate collections, the lining of the jackets found the human hair in it.
Shape shifting is another fairytale trope that has been found recurrently in all of McQueen’s work. In the fairytale stories often there were instances where one entity easily transgressed into another physically with the help of some magical powers- like a frog transforming into a prince with a spell in action. This induced McQueen’s thoughts and he tried to bring the metamorphic body in his designs with a Gothic touch in it. The abhuman motifs have been found strongly in Alexander McQueen shoes and headgears with the shapes of paws and deer horns intriguing the entire attire. He used the idea of incorporating the antlers in the bridal gowns and evoked the mythical creatures with the help of unicorns.
He quite calmly could use piece which otherwise would have set one mad- like the feathers of duck, pheasants and peacocks. One could never think of putting them into any use, while to Alexander McQueen, these were quite natural. The python Armadillo shoe by him is something that none can ever re-create or even think of re-creating. So it is quite clear why a single man turns out to be a brand in near future. Not all can find such confidence and strength to come and own it up completely. It’s the gruesome working of the creative intellect and madness that can gift the world with individuals like Alexander McQueen.
Author Bio: Mallory Fowler is a fashion enthusiast and has been writing fashion colums, blogs for many years now. Her recent articles give the readers a clear view of how the Alexander McQueen represents the 21st century fashion to the crowd.