Some Thoughts From Alexander McQueen

“Some Thoughts From,” a series of short features spanning some of the industry’s most notable designers, editors, models and other industry insiders, sharing their thoughts on anything and everything fashion - is back. Up this week: a look back at some of the most quotable excerpts from the late design genius, Alexander McQueen.

On celebrities: I don’t deal with celebrities. I just say no. I don’t need to have celebrities at the show. The clothes are the celebrities. That’s what it’s about.  I have nothing against them. It’s just not my world. And in that world, when Versace pays them to sit in the front row, it means fuck all to me. It’s not about that. As soon as you do that—as soon as you bring celebrities into your company—you’re putting a label on your collection. Of course, I have done some dresses for famous women. Cate Blanchett and Juliane Moore for example. But we don’t go to them, they come to us.

On working at Givenchy: Working at Givenchy helped me learn my craft [but] I couldn’t stand it! I had no friends, and I just went from the apartment to Givenchy, and Givenchy to the apartment. It was killing me. Killing me creatively. It was purely because of the negativity of the corporate umbrella at LVMH. I wasn’t used to it. I was used to doing my own things at my own way.

On fashion as entertainment: The explosion of museum exhibitions is only a mirror image of what has happened to fashion itself this millennium. With the force of technology, instant images and global participation, fashion has developed from being a passion for a few to a fascination - and an entertainment - for everybody. People don't want to see clothes, they want to see something that fuels the imagination.

On acceptance: I'm not interested in being liked. 

On the speed of fashion: The turnover of fashion is just so quick and so throwaway, and I think that is a big part of the problem. There is no longevity.

On balancing art and commerce: There has to be a balance between your mental satisfaction and the financial needs of your company. (But) I always remember that it's the fantasy, the artistic side, that makes customers want to buy the straightforward black pants.

On couture: Some couture collections have everything including the kitchen sink! Everything gets thrown on to make it look expensive. I find it grotesque when clothes hit you in the face and there's no room for fault. But I don't expect to turn things around all by myself. I'm not a saint.