Sunday, 14 February 2010

How on earth

Does one shake oneself out of something? This is as much about shock as it is about our patterns particularly when it comes to clothes. I have to admit to never once being shocked nor moved by a 'celebrity' death. But, when one of your peers goes and tops themselves that is shocking. Mr MDS of course is completely unmoved by the death of McQueen and in a move akin to a sniper asked if I had any of his clothes as sales were up by 143%. I told him (politely) I actually had never been able to afford him, which is partly true but also I hadn't really chosen to by anything by him. Which is quite bonkers as we both shared a love of red dresses, oriental classicism of the Paul Poiret sort and are both rebels.

The point is how on earth do we choose our connections. This goes for people we admire, brands we buy into and items we select for our wardrobe. There are limits to our choices based on money and availability of items (those infuriating waiting lists) but Alexander McQueen has not to my knowledge been a subject of waiting list for a particular item, although his skull rings flew out of Liberty et al.

This debate is about the brand, not the person, whether PPR, the Gucci group should or will keep the brand of Alexander McQueen now that Lee McQueen has passed away (I wish he had rather than...but this isn't about the how or why).

My view, and it is just a view, is that the brand should be no more, after a decent period of course. I'm sure there is a something to be made of, or salvaged from the collection, despite the fact the show was cancelled. I also think there is a few years of accessories sales as a concession point in high value department stores. The scarves, the bags and whatever else has a period of longevity. This would be a good move, after all there is the balance of investment verses return.

You see the beauty of the brand is in the drama, the creative spirit. I'm probably a lone soul in my condemnation of the YSL brand without Yves Sant Laurant. I am nothing but a pedant when it comes to fashion lineage. YSL stopped, to me that was the end. All that was bought was a name.

I know many will point to the success of Lanvin and its resurrection under Alber Elbaz and in time we will see regarding Vionnet. I suppose there might be some brave soul out there who would dare to be Elsa Schiaparelli. The difference in the resurrection of a house and the continuation depends on the handover, circumstances and the point. To me I see no point in pretending in the circumstances that there is a natural successor, someone who can take up the reins nor will there be. Paul Poiret and Alexander McQueen are designers whose creative flair and genius comes about every so often.

There are always reasons for things to ebb and flow and whilst fashions is a business, creative talent cannot be created just like that. Countless bloggers have used the Kate Moss hologram as a display of McQueen's creative genius, it is obviously a moment of sheer thrill and amazement. Yet, I've selected this image of Erin O'Connor in his Spring/Summer 2001 because it truly is the nearest thing in a ready to wear collection that one would expect in a couture collection. And no one other than Lee McQueen could have delivered this, nor will anyone else under the umbrella of the Alexander McQueen brand - how an earth could they.

20 comments:

  1. I am glad I am not the only one who couldn't quite move on yet from Mc Queen in my blogging. I am not as expert as you in my knowledge of fashion etc .. but I cannot imagine the name continuing without him. Yes accessories might etc but the man was unique a genius and you cannot replicate that. x

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  2. R.I.P. Sir Alexander McQueen. He was a genius person... :-(

    P.S.: ♥Please don't forget to join the Howbeadyful giveaway!♥

    Good luck!

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  3. Wildernesschic - I was prepared for the death of YSL so could cope. I really only get upset about the death of family of friends but this one has mortified me!

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  4. I think it is always sad when someone so young passes away. And doubly so when it appears to be at their own hand. I confess I don't know anywhere near enough about his work but feel so sad all the same.

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  5. I'm so with you on this, there is no "natural successor". His way of work was very intimate, all samples were produced in his studio, he himself made the patterns. If Gucci group decides to brand his name, it's really going to look too desperate and the real McQueen costumer is not going to take the bait. YSL is now just the license deal. Lanvin and Balenciaga resurrection worked out just fine, cos we never really "met" the original designer and the current designers are both strong on their own. Some people already see Olivier Theyskens in as the one who is capable of replacing McQueen, by the way... capitalizing on dead, just nasty...

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  6. I said this exact thing in an email last night, I am totally shaken by this. And shaken by the size and intensity of my reaction. It just keeps going round and round in my head. I went through a McQueen phase many years ago and have lots of pieces lurking somewhere in The Palace, but like you, in my heart I just pray they let it rest...

    Queen Marie

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  7. Thanks for B-day wishes Make do!
    Queen Marie just said something I couldn't describe myself "shaken by the size and intensity of my reaction". I thought that being so brilliant can make one happy(er), but obviously, I was wrong. I better go kiss my husband, fashion can wait.

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  8. I completely agree with you about the transfer of YSL - buying a name isn't continuing a lineage. And I'm inclined to agree with you about McQueen too. But I can't stop thinking about all the people who are going to lose their jobs if the house shuts down. I mean, with YSL, it was a veritable conglomerate - to shut the brand would have cost hundreds of careers. Then I start thinking, once again, about the stupidity of suicide - the selfishness. (Note: I'm sure, when one takes one's own life, one is beyond rational - and it's not fair to inflict that judgment. I just can't seem to help it.)

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  9. Agreed. When I think of Lanvin, I don't think of a particular designer--though I know full well that Alber E is doing a beautful job--because the brand name is simply that: a brand.

    But for me, McQueen is too tightly connected with its talented designer to consider another person coming in. It's as if someone else started to paint Van Goghs.

    Perhaps after an appropriate amount of time (a year? five years?) I might feel differently. But for now, I think that Mr. McQueen's label should rest, gently, I trust, with the young man who died too soon.

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  10. The continuation of the brand is a very interesting topic and I'm glad that you posted on it after the Sart's debate.
    Chanel is the best example of a brand and a business that was revitalized and if I may say so (as I duck my head waiting for virtual things to be thrown at me) improved by Karl Lagerfeld.
    The McQueen brand, I don't believe, can be brought forward. Chanel was genius in marketing, McQueen was a genius in design.
    On the other hand we've had Dior continue with so so collections until the Galiano came along brought the brand to its rightful place at the top of the haute couture heap.
    OK, I'm going all over the place with this post but my point is that a thriving business is a good thing, it employs people and creates productivity in our economy. I'd hate to see a good business close.

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  11. There's no doubt in my mind that Alexander McQueen was a creative genius. But at the end of the day a brand is a brand - the goodwill of customers that's built up over the years involves an investment of financial capital, as well as talent - and this has a monetary value. A current trend is the development of the individual as a brand - perhaps this is a reaction against large scale corporatization? However, fashion designers will invariably need funding to hit the big time.

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  12. The body is not cold and its business as usual in this industry. Its always tragic when someone who is your peer dies and even more so when its their own doing. He must have been full of grief over the loss of his mother. Such a waste of talent but who are we to judge his reasons for leaving this earth so soon.

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  13. Such incredible talent - he could never be replaced but I wouldn't be adverse to the brand being reinvented in some way. xx

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  14. Beautifully written post, darling!
    McQueen was a genius and will be sorely missed.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    xoxox,
    CC

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  15. YSL had so much more time to evolve, but AMQ was so young and therefore the brand, too, it's very difficult to imagine that someone can step into his shoes. I haven't really started to think along these lines and still (naively) wonder if he didn't consider how much his talent will be missed (since I didn't know him, I can hardly say his person, but in the end it's probably the same)...

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  16. Lovely post, I have had this conversation with almost everyone I spoke to today, I cannot imagine how hard it will be for the final call to be made. I linked your post on my blog hope thats ok, as you really put the point across so well, Pearl x

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  17. I don't know McQueen's work so I feel inadequate to comment. But that dress is heaven!

    Happy Valentine's Day!

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  18. McQueen will be thoroughly missed. Wonderful blog today, I referenced you in mine. So thank you for that, http://tinyurl.com/ybr22n3.

    I would like to see the brand continue in his honor, I think that is the best way to show all our admiration.

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  19. Certain designers, it just won't work with. See Ossie Clark, for example. Different because it was resurrected so long after he died, but similar in that such a maverick, idiosyncratic designer cannot be replicated.

    Chanel, YSL, whoever, they were in the habit of producing 'what people wanted' so it's easy enough to carry that forward. But a true genius, it's not about the name...it's about the talent. And that's too weighty for any other designer to take on...

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