a tribute: lee alexander mcqueen, cbe

On the 4th anniversary of the death of fashion's favourite enfant terrible, we ask some of his closest friends to share what they loved most about Lee.

by i-D Team
11 February 2014, 3:00pm

Lee Alexander McQueen, 1997

"Lee McQueen was the most magical person. I will never forget his laugh. He was my brother." Edward Enninful

"Lee was a dear friend and one of the great inspirations of our time. I miss him." Kate Moss

"I feel honoured to have worked with such a genius, he was a true pioneer. His vision was incredible and inspiring. To work beside Lee was an experience I will never forget; his energy and talent was mesmerizing. He encouraged and inspired me to create pieces that push the boundaries in both fashion and jewellery. He opened my mind. He was one of my closest friends; I laughed and cried with him but most of all, I loved and learnt with him. He was and still is my rock." Shaun Leane

"In a world where every man and his dog is a designer, Alexander McQueen was the real deal. Alexander McQueen was the greatest and most genuinely talented designer I have ever worked with. His talent was supersonic. As with true talent it comes from nowhere and reaches everywhere. His originality and exceptional talent always impressed me. He was a very kind and loving friend to me." Philip Treacy

"I wish I could of had forever and not even forever would of been long enough." Annabelle Neilson

"Alexander McQueen was a genius, he saw things in a completely different way from everybody else, where everybody else saw light he saw darkness, where they saw darkness, he saw light. He was incredibly perceptive, he remembered everything, forgot nothing and was razor sharp. Lee McQueen on the other hand was just a down to earth guy who was clever, funny and liked regular stuff, a night on the town, a weekend in the country, a cup of tea with two sugars, bacon sandwiches and strawberry yoghurts. We would sit round his house watching Coronation Street, drinking tea and smoking cigarettes, there would be a ring at the door and in would come Annabelle (Neilson) head to toe in McQueen and on her way to some party or other. Momentarily distracted from the telly, our mouths would literally drop, she looked amazing and he had made her look amazing. We would gawp and gasp in admiration and she would hurry off to wherever it was that she was going. Seconds later we would be totally absorbed into the streets of Weatherfield. That's why I loved Lee." Christopher Daunt

"Several years back I was working with Lee on his advertising campaign. During lunch, Lee just had to go out and get a tattoo of his last name inked on his stomach. He arrived back all wrapped up in cling film. There was a huge glass tank of water, around 4 metres high on our set. Suddenly Lee had climbed a ladder and jumped in to have his photo taken. I suddenly realised the cling film was only on the wound of the fresh tattoo to keep it from getting wet. He always thought of all the details. No one else would think of so many bizarre things to layer together in one day, and all genius! God he was funny... wickedly funny. I will miss that naughty laugh so much." Ronnie Cooke Newhouse

"My recollection: After his shows he would flee. I remember a few years ago catching him running out the back door of his show at the Bercy Arena in Paris. I said, 'Lee, where are you going? Everyone loved it.' He looked at me with disbelief until I brought him to the editors who broke into applause and smiles as he walked toward them. The press called him the 'bad boy' of fashion but to me he was something of a lost boy who underneath all that bravado was deeply insecure. And, at the same time, fearless creatively and utterly honest. One of the most brilliant and original designers in history, it is so unbelievably sad that he left the scene so brutally." Jonathan Newhouse

"Lee's beautiful and thoughtful contributions to the separate themes explored within the SOUL project always meant a huge amount to me. They showed another side to his fashion voice that soared so high. My special thanks and big respect." Tricia Jones

"The things I loved about Lee. His untouched accent. His straight talking no punches pulled. His vision. Nothing was ugly for Lee. He could be brutal but showed such sensitivity and care. Sunny days, people watching on a shared table in Soho. I will truly miss his wicked, wicked laugh." Meg Mathews

"I cherish more than anything my intimate meals with Lee. He was an excellent cook. I am blessed he chose to spend quality time with me." Naomi Campbell


Photography Craig McDean
[The Influential Issue, No. 170, November 1997]

Alexander McQueen
Sarah Burton
fashion interviews
Edward Enninful
Philip Treacy
savage beauty
enfant terrible
tricia jones
craig mcdean
annabelle neilson
christopher daunt
jonathan newhouse
lee mcqueen
meg mathews
ronnie cooke-newhouse
shaun leane
the influential issue