Met Ball guests share their memories of McQueen

05 May 2011

It’s been a tiring week here at ol’ Grazia towers, what with wedding fever followed by intense Met Ball activity, and we’re quite relieved that there has been no significant fashion news or events since Monday, giving us the chance to reflect on the finer points of those two momentous events.

It looks like we’re not alone in our waffling, as today more gossip emerged about what the guests were talking about on the night of the Met Ball in New York. Hamish Bowles of US Vogue, who was tartaned up to the max on the night, in a look reminiscent of a souvenir shortbread tin, told the assembled company that the first time he met Lee McQueen, he was ‘terrified’. ‘There were very few teeth, I remember, and quite a significant beer belly,’ he explained. ‘[The teeth] bespoke street fights.’ Bowles said the late Isabella Blow convinced him to go see McQueen's work for the first time when he was still a student at Central St. Martin's in London. ‘So I went to south, south, south London, it took hours to get there, and it was his auntie’s welfare apartment. And he had some mannequins in the front room, and this really terrifying creature greeted me, and he was inarticulate and abrasive and just absolutely brilliant,’ an emotional Bowles explained. ‘You could just see there was just a raw talent. And you could tell he was frustrated because he felt that he wasn’t ready to be showing me things.’

Blimey! Do we think this is borderline offensively snobbish, or just charming and delightful, American fashocracy snobbish? (Hamish is originally British, but very much part of the Wintour empire) The jury is out. Meanwhile in other news, various stars explained why they hadn’t worn Alexander McQueen gowns on a night that was purpose-built to honour his design legacy.  Sarah Jessica Parker and Mr Bowles both did come up with McQueen outfits but many others were unable to find something that wasn’t either; in the exhibition itself, or – in a sample size, rather than shop sizes, which are minuscule. Natalia Vodianova described how ‘The clothes [in McQueen shows she walked in] were so incredible, but certain pieces were torturous in a way because [they had] such a small waist,’ and went on to say ‘It’s not like you really got to know Lee unless you really knew him personally, which I didn’t, but he was a very kind man, very supportive of my charity. That was very special to me. That’s the sweet feeling. He’s not someone necessarily who would tell you, 'Oh my god, Darling, I love you, you look amazing,' you know, not really outgoing, but he would support you, he would be behind you. That meant a lot.

Sarah Jessica Parker, who famously attended the Met Ball with McQueen himself one year, also described him as shy. Aw. We wonder what Lee himself would have to say about all this? 


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