yesterday was a day of silence in honor of dear ol' lee, alexander mcqueen's first name, the name his friends and family fondly used to call him. the entire fashion industry is shocked and saddened by lee's sudden death and by the circumstances surrounding it. he must have been in complete and utter despair, distraught by thoughts, feelings, and possibly physical pain that he could no longer handle that, for him, death was the only escape.
we feel lucky that we have had the opportunity to meet and speak with alexander mcqueen. this was back in 1997, at the height of his "l'enfant terrible" and "bad boy of fashion" image. he was only 28 years old at the time and already head designer at givenchy. we were in italy then with a group of asian journalists, covering the gala night of the international shoe design awards, which was held in a 400-year-old castle just outside milan. alexander mcqueen was being awarded the prize for "new shoes new talents" and we were all excited because we were informed that the british designer would be there to accept his award. as we sipped our champagne in the garden, in he walked with his assistant katherine wearing the winning design: a pair of thigh-high semi-platform boots of caramel-colored pony hair and suede. mcqueen was dressed really casually in black trousers, trainers, and a loose short-sleeved shirt. he was walking by too fast for us to catch him for an ambush interview, so knowing that his friends called him lee, we yelled "lee!" so of course he looked and approached us. we were so *kilig* hee-hee... so this group of six asian journalists surrounded him for a few minutes and chatted him up. we asked him what he thought of the current trend of young british designers taking over the old parisian houses (at that time, galliano for dior, mccartney for chloé, and mcqueen for givenchy). his reply: "the talent has always been there, it's about time they recognized it." and that talent will be sorely missed.
rest in peace, lee. you were one of the true remaining originals in fashion.
PS: we took a quick snapshot of alexander mcqueen that night and we're going to look for it. hopefully, we find it and get to post it here. watch this space.