On 5th February, 2010, Matches boutique conducted the last interview with Alexander McQueen, six days before the designer’s death. An unabridged version of this interview appears in Matches’ Spring/Summer 2010 magazine.
From East End to the Rive Gauche, Alexander McQueen is one of the iconic designers of our time, as celebrated as he is controversial, as romantic as he rebellious.
With an aquatic collection making waves this season, we caught up with him and found an enfant not so terrible.
What would Alexander McQueen do if he had an hour to spare in London? “I’d head to the Natural History Museum!’ he says.
Perhaps it was the specimens on show there that inspired his latest collection. Plato’s Atlantis featured sinister films of writhing snakes, as models wearing reptilian digitally-printed dresses skulked down an illuminated runway. But behind the drama he combined a profound knowledge of bespoke British tailoring with the workmanship of the French ateliers and impeccable Italian craftsmanship.
Born in the East End, this son of a London cabbie, has his heritage influenced his aesthetic? “I guess I am an East end boy at heart” he says “although I think different areas of London have influenced different collections”
Self-effacing in a way that only the English can be (“I don’t like the idea of a statue of me!”), he counts pie and mash as his favourite food, and is happiest “when I’m just at home with my dogs.” SO why does this thoroughly British boy continue to show in Paris? What have they got that we haven’t?! “I love the heritage of the design houses” he exclaims “and the fact that not just anyone can put on a show…”
Despite his bad boy reputation he is inherently a romantic, although admits he’s had to grow up – “there has to be a balance between your mental satisfaction and the financial needs of your company.” But, he adds; “I always remember that it’s the fantasy, the artistic side, that makes customers want to buy the straightforward black pants.”