Alexander McQueen was praised by many for his fashion design talents. He took his life by hanging in 2010.
The title of a Daily Mail [UK] article by Jane Fryer was “A life in fashion: Alexander McQueen was the hooligan of the catwalk who loved to shock – but nothing could take away from his genius.”
The article says, “Victoria Beckham was just one of a galaxy of stars who yesterday paid tribute to Alexander McQueen, the East End boy whose breathtaking creations were adored the world over. She described him as a ‘master of fashion, creative genius and an inspiration.'”
Another news article about his life and death by suicide was “A Renegade Whose Talent Taunted Convention” [By Guy Trebay, New York Times February 11, 2010] – which included the comment:
‘“McQueen was probably the best woman’s tailor in the world,” said Steven Cox, one of two designers of the Duckie Brown label, calling Mr. McQueen, the son of a taxi driver, a “working-class bloke” with a renegade instinct.’
The article added, “Mr. McQueen made no secret of his tendency to binge on drugs, alcohol, food and sex. And some observers of his career found it possible to remark about his death much as Tim Blanks, a critic for Style.com, did. “I was thunderstruck by the news,” Mr. Blanks said, “and then not.”
I don’t know much about McQueen, other than what has been reported in a few articles I have read. I am not even a fan of most of his dress designs I see in these articles – I prefer fashion that celebrates female power and beauty without grotesquerie.
But I am concerned about how drug and alcohol misuse can hurt gifted and talented people.
What caught my attention was that about the same time of these reports of his death, I added this article to the AddictionInfo site (which I was helping edit in 2010): Beliefs about suicide in depressed individuals with alcohol use disorders.
The article reports on a study at Columbia University. Here is an excerpt:
“The key finding in this study, as indicated by the authors, was that individuals with AUDs [alcohol use disorders] had fewer moral objections to suicide than did individuals without AUDs.
“Additionally, a lack of moral objections to suicide was associated with higher levels of suicidal ideation and prior suicidal behavior. The authors were careful not to overstate the implications of their findings, but the general assumption was that the lack of moral objections facilitates suicidal behavior in individuals with AUDs.”
A hedonistic lifestyle
Of course, I am not saying McQueen was an alcoholic, but his lifestyle raises the question.
In addition to the quote above – “his tendency to binge on drugs, alcohol” – another Daily Mail article reports, “McQueen’s former ‘husband’, George Forsyth says: ‘We went to all these mad parties. There were parties every night. There would be ice sculptures and expensive champagne and people jumping into swimming pools fully dressed, and drugs.
‘Not quite the Hollywood cliche of mountains of coke spread about, but there were a few parties where it was being passed around on silver salvers.
‘The hedonistic parties would go on and on. People had a lot of money so they never had to stop. It was a very incestuous, cliquey world. There was Sadie Frost, Kate Moss and Davinia Taylor in a clique.
‘They were hard-core – staying up for days, either drinking or taking drugs, in some cases both. The drugs magnified everything. The good times were really, really good.’”
> From article Alexander McQueen’s ex-partner throws a disturbing light on the ‘hangers-on’ who lionised him, but who never truly knew him, By Laura Collins, dailymail.co.uk
Also see my article Gifted, Talented, Addicted
and my site: Depression and Creativity