I was so caught up on what was happening in Egypt that the dates of the days no longer mattered. I’d wake up thinking of Egypt and I’d head to bed thinking of Egypt. For days I was like that and it got to the point that I lost count of the days which just seemed to have blurred together.
Phase 1, the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, was always going to be the hardest part of the Egyptian revolution. That constant battle between the desire of the people of the deaf government reached its peak which was why millions to the streets for days that I lost count of but always left amazed by the volume of determination and unity. It was a frustrating waiting game with so many what-if questions. Patience turned to desperation, desperation lead to low moods yet you had to find that energy to push yourself backup and tell yourself to continue.
First came the big insult that sent ripples of rage and then in less than 24 hours euphoria erupted in Egypt and disbelief swept across the world; Phase 1 had ended. The question “How?” was the first thing that came to my mind. The astonishment was mixed with the celebratory mood of the victory and only then did that day count – 11th February 2011
It took a few days to calm down and take in what was really happening. This wasn’t the end. There was still more work to do.
It took a few days to realize something else
Such a contrast to the “How?” that I was asking round about this time last year. That “How?” was a disbelief but at the completely opposite end of the spectrum. This time last year I was crying tears of sadness by the sudden news of the death of Lee Alexander McQueen. He passed away on the 11th yet I only remembered that 3 days later, on Valentine’s Day. The day where you cherish what is close.
To me, there was fashion and then there was Alexander McQueen.
I never really got how a person can cry watching a fashion collection – it’s absurd, right? Why would you cry at clothes? I never got it until it happened to me once, and it happened when I was watching Alexander McQueen’s Fall 2008 Collection. To say watching, I don’t mean physically being there or watching a video footage but rather a slideshow online. That makes it sound more odd because that means there was atmosphere or buzz and that the only focus were the clothes. At that moment, more than ever, I realized that Fashion is an Art and that emotion that is evoked within the person is not just by what they see but what they bring to it, what they carry inside them, and what they hold within. It’s really about how you can relate to art. It’s you and your interpretation. No other person managed to do that to me other than Alexander McQueen.
Even up to this day I can look back at that collection and relive the emotions, and frighteningly I am able to do so vividly. I don’t remember what I was going through at the time but I do remember how I felt, and those emotions that I was hiding underneath prior watching the collection just came out in the form of tears whilst watching it.
I had been watching his fashion collections for a while and at that time, that collection, in terms of detail and beauty, was the best that he had delivered.
The thing about Alexander was that he didn’t just give a fashion show, he gave a show and that is how he earned himself a must-watch guarantee for every season. It wasn’t always everyone’s cup of tea but you had to admire him for being a risk-taker; no one else challenged the audience as much as he did.
It wasn’t restricted to fashion only but to arts and in years to come, technology. He was a Fashion Designer that understood Arts and loved challenging the audience. He engulfed himself in a beautiful world of his own and when you watched his shows you were then to be taken in by the world that he created.
It was from then that I took my interest in fashion a step further.
Alexander was at the pinnacle of success. I don’t know, and will never know, if he could have been able to outdo himself. What I appreciate though, is that even though it was the end of the genius that work still lives on, both past and present collections. I am delighted that the Fashion House is still maintaining his name and producing wonderful work.
The most frustrating thing is that I can only speak of him as a designer and not as a person. I would have loved to meet him in the flesh; to just get to know him and know how his mind works. I always said if there is a way for someone like me to somehow attend a fashion show, once in my whole entire life which as completely unrealistic, it would have to be an Alexander McQueen. That still hasn’t changed but there will always be a part of me that wishes time and life were more fair. I would have loved to thank him in person.
May he rest in peace.
( 17th March 1969 – 11th February 2010 )
“From heaven to hell and back again, life is a funny thing.
Beauty can come from the strangest of places,
even the most disgusting places.”
– Alexander McQueen