I said beforehand that if the rumours were true, if Kate wore McQueen, then I would love that girl forever. It would be a brave statement, and the right one. I’m pleased that she really did make it.
I have idolised Lee McQueen since I was a teenager. I had long been obsessed with Isabella Blow and, taking everything she said as gospel much in the esteem that I held the words of The Face (RIP) and i-D, I believed her when she said that he was the genius of his generation – that and the fact that it was so clearly true. Here was a rare talent in always-surprising form.
I set about emulating the look with varying success. Most memorable was probably the time that I actually tried to recreate his catwalk ‘bumsters’ – wearing a pair of jeans cut so low that they deliberately displayed, for want of a more delicate phrase, about two inches of arse crack. And this in the days when high-rise trousers were the norm! Seriously, NOBODY had their hipbones (or pants) on show until McQueen did it in the 90s! The red eye-make-up and netting facial veils were ones that the Home Counties of the late-20th Century may prefer to forget. The latter inspired my friend Ali to say that I looked like ‘a bag of tangerines’. She wasn’t wrong. Strong look.
I met him once. At Popstarz (of course), around 2002 maybe. He was drunk and clearly bonkers and it was before he got skinny, but he was electric. One of those rare people who changes the temperature of a room just by being in it. The only other one I can think of – that I’ve encountered – is Nick Cave.
When the legendary Issy died, it was a tragedy but not a shock to anyone who had followed her life and career. When Lee Alexander McQueen died it was both, and more.
I genuinely believe that the world is a worse place now that it has lost the potential for more of his creations and inventions. A little while ago I went to an exhibition at the Royal Academy with my friend Louise, which contained one of his haute couture originals, the famous red lace with the attached headpiece as you may know – it felt like being in a church of the highest order, complete with held breath and jelly legs. It is tied with the Basquiat for the greatest work of art I have ever seen up close.
Now, the man who so notoriously embroidered obscenities into the lining of Prince Charles’s jacket (an amazing story – if you don’t know the details, read up on them) has his name at the helm of the most famous dress of our current time, his already-famous name brought to the masses and hopefully appreciated forevermore, to be uttered in the same breath as the true greats. I think it’s fitting. Well done Sarah Burton and long live McQueen.