Alexander McQueen, magnificent designer and creative role model to thousands of fashion lovers, has died of an apparent suicide. He was 40 years old.

It would be disingenuous, at this juncture, to speculate about what McQueen’s legacy will be or what impact his all-too-soon death will have, but if there is one thing I can say for sure, it’s that the world still needs Alexander McQueen.

A one-time enfant terrible of the fashion world, McQueen’s designs had recently found a more widespread audience that garnered him a good bit of mainstream fame. Pop stars like Lady Gaga wore his most avant-garde creations in music videos while celebs as mundane as Kate Hudson carried his more accessible handbags in front of hordes of paparazzi. By all indications, it was Alexander McQueen’s moment.

He’s gone now, long before he was done, and the fashion industry is without one of its greatest iconoclasts and creative thinkers. As Zac Posen said recently, fashion is a business that loves an exception, and McQueen was one of its greatest. His clothing had an inherent wit and violence to it, and it was often completely unwearable outside of an editorial shoot. That he would rise to prominence while making commercially unmarketable clothes was a longshot at best.

To McQueen, that was never the point. Season after season, he reminded us all of what fashion could be on its very best day, when the cynicism was stripped away and creative people got the chance to do what they were born to do. He made clothing that made us dream and gave us nightmares, and there are few experiences in fashion as visceral and revelatory as watching a collection of his creations see the light of day for the first time.

We don’t know whether his final collection will walk at Paris Fashion Week or if we’ll ever get to see what he was working on when he died. In the new issue of LOVE magazine, McQueen said cryptically, “When I’m dead, hopefully this house will still be going. On a spaceship.” It is without question that his legacy and vision need to be continued; I merely wish that he was going to be the one to do it.

More information on McQueen via Daily Mail.

Photo via the Guardian.

  • http://www.purseblog.com/ Amanda Mull

    I didn’t want to include this in the article because it’s just rumor, but I am indeed hearing whispers out of NYC that his show will go on in Paris. Nothing confirmed, I’ll update you guys if I find anything out.

  • chloehandbags

    I’m still in utter shock and disbelief, about this…

    He was a true genius and the world of fashion will be a far poorer place without him.

    R.I.P Alexander (Lee).

  • papertiger

    O.M.G total shock! May he rest in peace.

  • Olga

    May you RIP…

  • Graciella

    I’m in shock…can’t believe this. Why do all the geniuses of this world have to take their own lives? I loved McQueen’s clothes, his bags (got two) and especially his skull scarf which I wear almost every day. This is absolutely terrible for the fashion world…

  • Kara

    Creative genuises always seem to border on that very thin line between “normal” and “crazy” so sad he didn’t feel he had an outlet for help. Perhaps it was accidental?

  • Rashmi

    RIP Alexander McQueen. I like everyone else am in TOTAL SHOCK!! The Fashion Industry truly lost a GEM!! oh NOOOOOOO!! why Mr. McQueen WHY? Heartbroken!!

    Megs, I know it’s too early but could you and your team do a Tribute to McQueen by posting some pics of his beautiful creations both purses, shoes and the beautiful gowns. That’d be awesome!! thank you!

    • http://www.purseblog.com/ Amanda Mull

      I’ll probably be doing something like that in the next few days.

      • Rashmi

        look forward to viewing it Amanda, thank you.

    • Abbi

      I cant believe he’s gone! his bags were beautiful with a dark edgy twist to it that i loved! omg all those clutches ive been dreaming about :(

      i hope he RIP

  • WANIE1

    WOW, UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!

  • joce

    Rumors seem to be that he committed suicide (one source said he hanged himself). I also read that his mother passed away a few days ago as well.

    I’m so deeply sad about this. I loved his creativity and he will be greatly missed. May his legacy live on forever and may he rest in peace.

  • hec

    im so sorry i love his work and had one of the best times ever at the opening of his boutique at the wynn las vegas im shocked im very classic very valentino shall we say almost dated but macqueen was perfect in my eyes because he did exactly what i would not wear but loved to see i the fashion industry such a shame the greatest loss just like dior in the point of their magnus they leave us wanting more never forget never die allways in style alexander mcqueen!!!!!!! long live AMQ

  • Anna Cooperberg Gzz.

    I almost cannot believe this… McQueen will be missed in the fashion sphere and beyond. His impact was global and I believe he’ll inspire current and future designers to do their best, to constantly push the envelope, and to showcase their individuality.

  • HandbagReport

    One word: tragic.

  • Terri

    So tragic! He will be missed but not forgotten!!! My thoughts and prayers go to all that loved him.

  • TH

    I couldn’t believe my eyes :'((

  • MissG

    I’m totally devastated… :(

    • MissG

      Sorry that was meant to be a sad smiley not a grinning one!

      • http://www.purseblog.com/ Megs Mahoney Dusil

        Fixed it for you

  • reese

    :( RIP you will be missed by many

  • Chris

    RIP Mr. McQueen.

    I like British fashion – it is always different and a bit weird.

  • Anjum

    Very sad…his stuff as great…

  • Anjum

    I meant ‘was’…

  • baghooligan

    One of the most tragic deaths. He was a true genius and a one of a kind. May he rest in peace.

  • purly

    Good writeup Amanda. You pretty much captured how I feel about him. :/

  • An4

    Amanda, I thought of you the second I heard the news, I was under the impression he was one of your favorite designers. It’s so sad, I’m sure he would have had a lot more to show us.

    • http://www.purseblog.com/ Amanda Mull

      You’re right, he was my absolute favorite. I am so incredibly sad over this.

  • Sher77

    So sad. I heard his best friend commited suicide a couple of years ago. Truly tragic.

    • Steven L. Kidder

      Yes his friend and in most cases his muse Isabella Blow killed herself in 2007 after being Diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer!

  • 19yearslater

    McQueen had vision, he dared to try the edges of fashion and succeeded. If it was his wish, as apparently it was, I hope his show will go on. RIP Alexander McQueen.

  • Pradameinhofgang

    i was nearly in tears when i heard about this. only the other week i was watching his couture show on FTV and i was captivated by it – not many designers have that unique talent of making you do that anymore..its so terribly sad that he didn’t live to develop his very special talent.

  • Shilps

    I am shocked! it’s seems surreal!

  • denim53

    Loved him. Very sad.

  • Josh

    Wow, this is just very shocking. I never really thought that a major designer would die soon, except for Karl Lagerfeld (he’s getting old).. May Alexander McQueen rest in peace. We have lost a wonderful designer, but his wonderful designs & creations will stay with us forever.

  • Tiffany

    OMG!! I am totally shocked! I loved his work..and have been lusting after his collections.
    I can’t believe it…So sad, hope all the best for his family and the people who worked with him!
    Much Love!

  • Aru

    OMG !!! what a SHOCK !!!

    totally L-O-V-E his skull scarf… There not going to be another…and he was YOUNG!!! just 40…
    It is so sad..that talent as outrageously different as his..had to be snatched away like this…

    RIP McQueen (Lee)

  • Karolynka

    This is truly a tragic loss i’m speechless

  • Jane

    It is a true loss to his family, friends, and all of his loyal fans. We will miss the genius that is Alexander McQueen.

  • Lisa M.

    This is truly sad. I fell in love with his recent resort collection, and commented only last week to a friend how talented I thought he was. So sad so sad. I will wear my skull scarf tomorrow with pride.

    Lisa

  • Milly

    So sad, devastating news. I hope all his beautiful designs will become even more treasured and collectible.

  • Erik

    This truly is a sad day for fashion he was the best modern designer with designs that were ahead of our time; I cried so much when i heard that he had passed away… i hope he rests in peace

  • Julie

    So tragic – why didn’t he get help? PLEASE get help if you ever feel this desperate – there are people who can help you. RIP Alexander.

  • atrophia

    Oh no… I am so sad to hear this. I loved his designs so much. He will definitely be missed.

  • mochababe73

    So young. So much life ahead of him. His line was finally starting to get a lot of recognition on the red carpet. It seemed that he was on the verge of really taking off.

  • Maria

    I am beyond shocked. So very tragic. What a great loss of life and creativity. I just packing my fav pair of sweater and pants for a vacation, that happen to be a Mcqueen, and then I turned to your site for a short break – and now I am in total disbelief. He lived a well contributed life to the world of fashion, a creative genuis, he truly brought drama and theatrics to clothes, and made them wearable. The fashion world will never be the same without him. I want to cry my heart out….

  • Steven L. Kidder

    Today the World lost not only a great Fashion Designer, but a great Artist!

    R.I.P. Lee McQueen!!!

  • diamondsinchampagne

    The world still does need McQueen :( This is such a tragedy, he was one of my favourites. A genius of our time, we were blessed to see his work… art truly!
    RIP

  • Materialgurl

    one of fashion’s saddest days…

  • Annie

    =[=[ unbelievable </3… what happen to the label next..?

  • Ping

    I’m truly in a state of shock over this terrible and sad news. Recently I lost all my “baby” weight and just purchased my first piece of Alexander McQueen clothing (aside from his accessories). I was so looking forward to buying more of his clothes down the road, but now I will be mourning his death…..so sad the fashion world lost someone who had such an incredibly unique vision:((((((

  • dela

    RIP Alexander McQueen.
    He creations were truly an art form. Each season I would anxiously wait to see his collections. I am so sad and shocked. He will be dearly missed.

  • Jenny

    Such a tragedy.. McQueen’s designs are great.. His vision was unbelievable..

  • Belle

    RIP – my thoughts and prayers go to his friends and family.

  • DRESSSPACE

    The fashion world has lost one of its greatest sons.
    We do not know because the great designer has made this, we do not know what he was trying, but we all know that McQueen was a brilliant stylist.
    We hope that where you are now, your creative talent continues to create a memorable style.
    http://www.dressspace.org

  • MAX

    Not fair. I just get to know him, started to love McQueen, hoping to shop his collections. Why why why he’s one of the most creative disgners i love the most beside Marc Jacobs and Karl. So sad. RIP

  • kbynottinghill

    Still in shock over the tragic news. You did a great job summing up what McQueen meant to the fashion world….

    “Season after season, he reminded us all of what fashion could be on its very best day….. and creative people got the chance to do what they were born to do.”

    RIP

  • Selène

    RIP

    That man was a great inspiration for so many.
    Even though not everything he designed was my taste, I’ve always appreciated him for being creative and innovative, for not being afraid to just be who he was.

    He wanted to be different, bring something new, something from within, a voice from the heart and that was more important to him than just selling/making profit, than being commercial, what a lot of designers and brands seem to do these days, especially after they’ve established their brand.

    This is my personal opinion though, this is how I interpreted him, so even though I’ve never had the opportunity to personally meet him to confirm :), he will always remain a great inspiration and motivation for me and I believe for many others as well.

    So much respect for you Lee “Alexander” McQueen, and respect for you Purse Blog, for your respects to him.

  • Kate B.

    Thank you, Amanda, for putting into such beautiful words how many of us are feeling. I’m glad you were the one to write this tribute. Much the way McQueen was meant to create art and fashion, your calling is wordcraft. You have such a way with words, and I hope you never stop writing. Unfortunately for us all, we will no longer be able to experience the genius of Alexander McQueen. God save McQueen. And may he rest in peace.

    • http://www.purseblog.com/ Amanda Mull

      Thank you for such an amazing compliment. I wouldn’t have had it any other way than me writing this – his work and vision meant so much to me, as a creative person. I was in tears yesterday, I still can’t believe it. What an enormous loss. What pain he must have been feeling.

  • Eli

    very sad. we just lost a great talent right there. oh what will fashion weeks be without him…

  • Karin bag4bag

    I couldn’t believe the news on the radio. I thought surely the Aust. media have it wrong. Such a sad sad thing, so young, too young. It is often that creative spirits feel such a range of emotions from highs to lows. I feel so sorry for his family, and I hope he knew how much his work touched peoples’ lives in a good way.

  • Rashida

    I’m so sorry to hear about his untimely passing! He made beautiful garmenents and handbags and he really will be missed.

  • Cheryl

    The fashion world has truly lost a icon. R.I.P. Alexander McQueen.

  • ShoeQueen1961

    My heart dropped when I heard about Mr. McQueen. Such a tragedy… I pray that his sould rests in everylasting peace…

  • Fiona

    RIP.Such a talented young man, with so much to acomplish, his departure was way too soon!

  • Maxie

    Alexander McQueen,
    Thank you for being such a visionary and inspiration to all. I hope that you are at peace now, you will be terribly missed.

  • FrannyGlass

    RIP. The first time i said I was in love with a bag was when I first saw his skull knuckle clutch.

  • Kendra

    RIP, :(

    (fb)

  • Jose

    I miss you Alexander Lee McQueen. (fb)

  • Elyse

    McQueen – you will be missed (fb)

  • Eric

    hope by this time people who had a personal connetion with him had moved on and accepted that he was gone, prayers offered for his beloved family and love ones-(fb)

  • Adrienne Zedella

    Very sad and disturbing (fb)

  • Adrienne Zedella

    waste (fb)

  • Vicki Page-Clark

    An absolute tragedy to lose anyone so young, but when it’s such a talent as well……..RIP (fb)

  • Sam Burwood

    So awful it was just the beginning for him.
    How does everybody feel about his brand now?
    Do you think it will be the same and have the same brand equity?
    get back to me.