I’m far from a fashionista (I probably own three pairs of shoes and two are barely wearable), but to hear the late designer Alexander McQueen talk about his work for five minutes is to know that this guy, who in his early years looked like a gas station attendant or a kid at a Target checkout counter, was the real deal.

McQueen was a profane artist who had an immense respect for the sacredness of his tradition.  He was conscientious enough to know that fashion is something of a toy religion, recognizing its triviality, but respecting its power.  Of course, much of this sensibility was perhaps an outgrowth of his naturally rebellious, iconoclastic personality.  But as he matured, this expression seemed to harden into an articulate, nonverbal philosophy.  The beautiful irony of McQueen’s art is its incessant attempt to deface the tradition in order to purify it.  One quote bears this out:

 “To me there’s no more morals in fashion anymore at all b/c people have put so much importance on fashion that all the morals have gone out of it.  This clean cut suit—I mean that’s never going to come back b/c people are trying too hard to be different…It’s kind of sad that people put so much importance on clothes when all you do is wear them…it’s not gonna cure you of AIDS or Cancer…”

Try getting a quote like that out of Valentino.