LONDON, U.K. — Shock waves rattled the foundations of the fashion industry Thursday when designer Alexander McQueen’s death made headlines. McQueen, 40, was found unresponsive at his London home. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene, with preliminary reports calling the tragedy a suicide.
McQueen’s reputation as a dynamic and outlandish personality nearly rivaled that of this apparel. His critics often decried his designs as “irrelevant,” accusing him of popularizing a style that evoked fetish, gore and misogyny. In reality, McQueen’s work, though dark, was rooted in the Gothic sensibilities of German fairytales and attained a femininity that seduced a diverse group of famous women.
McQueen’s predominant motifs employed aggressive, angular contours that recalled the Golden Era of Hollywood more than a Marilyn Manson music video. It was in the naming of his collections and his temperamental behavior that McQueen elicited his greatest shock. Among his more infamous lines were 1992’s “Jack the Ripper” graduation collection and “Highland Rape,” which is also the name of a Scottish pastry that most Europeans call “chocolate vomit” or pretend not to know.
According to close friends, McQueen’s was a true Cinderella story — if Cinderella had been a brooding, melodramatic, overweight Goth who cried at the mere sound of Morrissey clearing his throat. McQueen was born in Hackney to a taxi driver and a social science teacher. He was the youngest of six children and dropped out of school by age 16. Undeterred, McQueen spent years traveling and working with foreign design houses before returning to London to finish his studies in 1994.
The Doppler effect of McQueen’s passing has not only suppressed the industry’s excitement over the upcoming London Fashion Week, but has devastated the customers closest to him personally.
A representative for Kate Moss said, “Kate is shocked and devastated at the tragic loss of her dear friend Lee McQueen. Her thoughts are with his family at this sad time.” Moss, a waifish model with a cocaine habit considered superhuman in context of her slight build, was spotted wearing nothing but sandwich boards and hollowed out barrels with suspenders.
“McQueen was the only designer clever enough to create attire in the negative size range,” Moss’ representative continued. “He once made her a jacket with sleeves of cocaine. When the weather warmed, she could easily ‘remove’ the sleeves to transform the garment into a vest. We have people on the way to the children’s department at Marks and Spencer’s now, but that’s not worked well in the past. Kate is just beside herself.”
Neighbors who saw Moss staring at herself for hours before a long mirror confirmed that she truly appeared beside herself.
Dita Von Teese, the buxom model known as “Queen of the Burlesque,” also admitted to suffering from the loss of McQueen. “Who the f**ck is going to make my corsets?” she hissed at paparazzi outside a famous Hollywood watering hole. “Who’s going to knit fishnet stockings out of human hair for me? Who, I ask you, is going to make bustiers outta crushed china eggcups? Who’s going to refill this glass? The ice seems to have soaked up all my absinthe. Jesus H. Christ, I’m gonna have to go to a f**cking thrift store now. F**ck!”
Not to be left out, noted amateur porn enthusiast Kim Kardashian chimed in on the news of McQueen’s passing this afternoon. She immediately took to Twitter to make sure the press had not forgotten about her existence. “I’ll always remember that part where McQueen drove the fast car through San Francisco in that cop movie. It was like called Switchblade or R…”
Having exceeded Twitter’s 140-character limitation, the rest of the cryptic message remains unknown.
Until investigators announce the official cause of death, the public can expect an abundance of speculation from pundits, reporters, friends and people like Kim Kardashian. Numerous sources suggest that McQueen’s suicide may have resulted from his difficulty in coping with the recent death of his mother. On February 3, he discussed his mother’s passing the previous day on Twitter, adding: “RIP mumxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.”
Others cite his inability to accept the 2007 suicide of his close friend, Isabella Blow, whom many initially assumed to be Kate Moss using a pseudonym. But the most reliable sources say Lady Gaga’s rising popularity, and her insistence on displaying McQueen’s designs in her music videos, was the last of many nails in his coffin — a paisley, peacock-feathered, taffeta-covered and antlered sarcophagus.