Being British means being inherently self deprecating, it’s why we struggle with national pride, feel safer when people take the mick, and look at American hyperbole with a serious sense of suspicion. Yet last Friday that went right out the window. The Royal Wedding gave us what we needed, a reminder that being British is pretty , bloody awesome. That girl, in that dress will define a generation of brides, galvanise the fashion industry and remind the world just how creative and talented our designers are.
Choosing McQueen was a bold choice and one, I am sad to say, I don’t think she may have made if the namesake of that label were still with us. Sarah Burton’s new direction for the eponymous British label has provided a softer more feminine appeal. Her courage and talent to step into Lee McQueen’s job after his untimely death shows just how a fashion house is not based on one person alone. Sarah Burton has worked there her entire career, and for every creation that spilled out onto the catwalk, her hand had touched upon it.
She continues a legacy which was started by the L’Enfant Horrible, Lee McQueen, the man that supposedly sewed offensive words in the lining of Prince Charles’s suit whilst working on Savil Row, the man who has beamed Kate Moss as a hologram, spray painted Shalom Harlow as a dying swan and inspired Lady Gaga. The man who titled his collections Highland Rape and created the bumster (short lived but forever remembered). He was a man with many talents and sadly many demons, demons which were eventually insurmountable. But thank goodness we no longer live in a time where genius is only confirmed upon the artists death, McQueen was celebrated and loved by many during his life, he knew that his contirbution to the world was valued. Magic and danger were created with every collection, conformity always refused, trends always set.
To bring all of this together the MET in New York has curated an exhibition of his couture, aptly titled Savage Beauty. The opening of which saw many a celeb don their McQueen to pay their respects and marvel at true innovation.
Many of us won’t get to New York, or ever be able to afford a piece of McQueen, but that shouldn’t stop us taking a moment to be grateful that we have lived in a generation which has seen and celebrated the vision and risk taking that was McQueen.