After the untimely death of fashion great Alexander McQueen last week, many people have questioned the pressures of the industry and the true impact that success can have on individuals who, at the end of the day, are not all that different from you or me. From my experience in the industry, I can say that the designers I have been in contact with are generally very emotionally invested in their craft, sometimes to the point of outright volatility. It would perhaps be impossible to compose such constitutions so consistently without this inner turmoil furrowing their creative brows. (Van Gogh anyone?)
I prefer not to engage in deep moral or psychological debate in my off duty hours, but I do feel the despondency radiating from the Brant Park Tents as I pass by, hoping for a glimpse of the splendor encapsulated within. People already fond of McQueen's trademark edge, by way of skulls and effusive patterns, will have to pay a premium for a piece of posthumous craftsmanship. (Anyone remember when Kenley on Project Runway season 5 sculpted that feather-adorned wedding dress, and was called out for swiping McQueen's original? I'll bet that the knockoff is all that most mortals could afford now.)
When you see a skull delicately dangling from a bootie zipper or cascading down an airy organza-esqe scarf, think of McQueen's legacy and the impact his work has had on the industry. Fashion lives on long after its engineers.