Since McQueen’s death, newspapers and fashion websites have been in a slightly sick race to publish as many “tributes” as possible.
This weekend, the Sunday papers took the exercise one step further, getting his friends, real or imagined, to write tributes. Forget about being on first name or nickname basis, all those people prided themselves in knowing him and calling him by his birthname. Whether or not you called him Lee has become, for the past five days, a proof of your fashion credentials.
More than about McQueen himself, those articles were about the writers, about how fashion connected they were.
Detmar Blow, husband of Isabella, wrote for the Daily Telegraph about McQueen and his wife. From their first meeting to her funerals, the first person narrative doesn’t really shed any light on McQueen, the character. It tells very superficial anecdotes. Crucially, the article ends with the mention that Blow has a biography of his wife out later this year.
Still in the Daily Telegraph, Plum Sykes wrote about “Alexander McQueen, my clever but vulnerable friend”. I found the headline in itself is incredibly offensive. Sykes most likely had nothing to do with it, but with the opposition of clever and vulnerable, the Telegraph managed to insult about every vulnerable person in the world.
As ever, the last word on the subject should go to Colin McDowell:
“And so they did. The Observer, a newspaper that once employed writers of the calibre of AJP Taylor and commentators like Malcolm Muggeridge, had managed to drag up somebody who had once interviewed McQueen and had become a ‘friend’, and The Sunday Times had cobbled together a series of quotes from the same kind of ‘friends’, several of whom wished to preserve their anonymity. Neither piece said anything, really”