Since his suicide in February, fashion has served up many Alexander McQueen sales and auctions. But are they homages or attempt to cash in?
In the art world it has long been said that an artist isn’t truly appreciated until after he or she dies. That’s not necessarily the case in fashion, where the industry’s greatest icons have been celebrated in life and death (Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent, for example) but it does seem that death does get the cash registers ringing.
When you look at each sale individually they all seem like poignant tributes to an insanely gifted artist.
But put them together and a more cynical writer might be reaching for the phrase “cashing in.” Here’s a breakdown of some of the many McQueen sales we’ve gotten wind of these past two months.
• The super addictive sample-sale website Gilt Groupe has a much-buzzed-about bridal sale that features a few Alexander McQueen dresses. It seems like the perfect way to acquire some of his work after his death.
• Through April 11, Housing Works, the popular chain of thrift shops in New York, hosts a tribute sale with more than 30 items of McQueen’s work with proceeds going to an AIDS charity.
• Gilt hosts an online sample-sale completely devoted to Alexander McQueen, featuring pieces from the previous season. The prices roughly range from a few hundred to a few thousand U.S. dollars. The touching copy on the site talks about his “legacy of drama, artistry and the spirit of invention.”
• Gilt has another McQueen-related sale, this time with dresses and separates from his secondary line, McQ.
• Women’s Wear Daily announces that Isabella Blow’s sizable McQueen collection will be auctioned at Christie’s in September. Blow, who was one of McQueen’s closest friends, helped give him his start by buying his entire graduation collection and paying him for it in small installments, and her suicide was a major heartbreak for McQueen. Blow’s sisters decided to sell most of her impressive wardrobe to pay off the late fashion editor’s debts.
• Yet another McQueen sale on Gilt. The wording again refers to his “legacy” and the fact that his masterful pieces are “sure to be collectors items.” Lots of tailoring this time around. McQueen fans bulking up their collections have plenty to pick from.
• British Vogue reports that two dresses from McQueen’s a/w ‘07 collection will go on sale in an auction at Bonhams in London, later this month. One dress, which was worn days after the designer’s death to the Brit Awards is expected to fetch 12,000 - 18,000 euros.