I'm not going to spare you the details about how and in what situation he was found by the ambulances yesterday, because I don't think it is fair to simply hide the lurid physical facts of any situation in favor of a glowing retrospective. Ever. But we shouldn't let his alleged suicide define him.
He was found hanging this morning at 10 a.m. by London medics in his apartment. There aren't too many details out yet, but I think this says enough. Simple and to-the-point, this statement is all that is needed. We don't need to know what he used to do it or what clues he gave to friends and colleagues that might have given them suspicions or what his final thoughts were, though we can-and probably will-speculate until we make ourselves sick.
But that is the why in which the media works. That's why I can't get myself to watch CNN or MSNBC or FOX "News" without wanting to bash my head into my TV screen; they just theorize and theorize until it turns into "President Obama is actually an agent sent from the faraway planet of Uranus to destroy the inner workings of the U.S. political system." And if I know the mainstream media well enough, and I believe I do, I can almost guess that this will be picked at and proded until the next big story pops up on their radars, the man behind the popular label all but forgotten.
It's sad, I think, that celebrities' deaths have to be defined as stories. They're more than that. They are people who deserve a hint of what we, the commoners, call regular life. Privacy and freedom from bloodthirsty pseudo-journalists trying to make a buck on tragedy. And Alexander McQueen was a person. A citizen of the world. And as a citizen of the global community, he had, and still has, a right to several fundamental rights, the least of which is the right to feel pain and happiness, misery and confusion.
Do I think he should have committed suicide? Of course not. But do I have a right to torment his family and friends by spawning delirious conjectures from a minimal, superficial knowledge, at best, of his life? Absolutely not. Because Alexander McQueen's death is not just a story that's spread like wildfire through the blogosphere. It's a travesty, a loss to the global community as well as the fashion community, and it's no doubt hurting a lot of people more than it's hurting me. I never met the man; I never had a relationship, be it professional or otherwise, with him.
It's okay to feel bad and to wonder. Believe me, the human mind is an eternally-wondering organ and therefore, there's no way to stop thoughts such as, "Hmm. I wonder what triggered him," and "Did he have anyone to talk to or to love?" They are natural. However, they become unnatural when we publish them and keep publishing them and only lose interest when some other story comes along. Think about Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami in Sri Lanka, Darfur, etc. The mainstream media gets what they have literally called "fatigue." Isn't that horrible? I'm sure the friends and families of those killed in the tsunami aren't fatigued from the stresses and horrors they still face daily. I'm sure that, even though interest has died down, the refugees from Darfur haven't forgotten the evils they have faced. And oh yeah, that Afghanistan thing? People are still dying on both sides.
We're living pretty wonderful lives if we can afford to just move on from tragedy to tragedy, not giving a second or third glance back until the anniversaries of those tragedies arrive in the form of not completely unpleasant reminders of those tragedies. And yes, Alexander McQueen was legendary in the fashion industry, but he's not going to get the coverage say, Michael Jackson got. Maybe that's a good thing. But maybe it's also a sign that the news organizations need to return to a format of straight news, unadulerated by emotion and opinion and that unsated thirst for profitable entertainment.
So I'm going to stop because I respect him. And don't get me wrong, I'm wondering as much as can be expected of a fan, but I realize that this isn't the place for speculation.
Let's take a look at his art, shall we?
Spring 2001 RTW:
He has made model Erin O'Connor look like some sort of futuristic Eva Peron.
Fall 2002 RTW:
Before there was Waldorf, there was McQueen.
Spring 2003 RTW:
I can't decide if I think she's the product of death or a dream.
Fall 2003 RTW:
Militaristic beauty at it's finest.
Spring 2004 RTW:
This whole show was a dramatic mix of theater and McQueen's godly art.
Fall 2004 RTW:
Even if that season wasn't one of his best, it still produced this glorious, Narnia-esqe piece that remains one of my favorites.
Spring 2005 RTW:
Whimsy with a twist of lime.
Fall 2005 RTW:
This collection proved that he had a bit of a monopoly on a little virtue called versatility.
Spring 2006 RTW:
Every collection he created is just so... unique. Different from everything and anything.
Fall 2006 RTW:
The attention to detail he showed in all of his work, like this piece Raquel Zimmerman wore, rivaled his innovative genius for best quality.
Spring 2007 RTW:
And just when you think he can't go any further, he does in spades.
Spring 2008 RTW:
Shall I compare thee to everything I want in my life?
Fall 2008 RTW:
Looking at this collection made me want to watch Ever After.
His Resort '09 collection was a short but sweet example of his technical skills as well as his creative ones.
Spring 2009 RTW:
A hint of what was to come? I like what I see...
His penultimate collection: menswear on acid!
Spring 2010 RTW:
Words cannot describe this. I guess the one good thing about this whole situation is that he went out on a high. Goodbye, Mr. McQueen. You'll be missed.