Contributing Writer: Renee Simpson
I’m not a gay man, I’m not the founder of a design empire, and I’m not dead – so what could I possibly have in common with the late, great Alexander McQueen? We both made the epic error of tattooing a (now ex-) boyfriend’s name on our arm. In McQueen’s case, it was a first name only. In my case, having been in a love with a Spaniard (with a British accent no less), and being the extremist that I am, I had his entire double-barreled surname tattooed on my left arm.
Tattoos are a permanent fashion statement, and mostly a confession. For the rest of my life (unless I get a cover up, unlikely) I’m telling the world I was in love with a man who was the product of incest (his mother and father were cousins or something) which resulted in him having the same last name – twice – which is now inked on me, foreva eva:
People think it has something to do with the Abba song, but it doesn’t even say Fernando!
McQueen’s departure, like my ex’s, still haunts me. McQueen’s hanging of himself has cast an ominous aura of foreboding over his trademark skull detailing. As much as I appreciate, for instance, the total McQueeness of the (now well exposed) knuckle skull clutch, the sight of it, and all designs skull, just remind me that he’s gone.
Ideal for Toting Around an Urn.
Epic Knock-Out Potential.
Perfect for a Celebrity Funeral.
McQueen was reportedly mourning his break-up, and surely bemoaning the tattoo, shortly before he took his life, three days before Valentine’s Day 2010. Although tattooed and scorned myself, I never considered offing myself over my ex. Shortly after he dumped me on a side street in London, while I was holding the pricey take-out I just got us for dinner, I did, admittedly, in my state of self-loathing and despair, contemplate gnawing off my entire arm, rationalizing that it’s the left and I’m right handed. On further thought, however, I realized that would have been an even bigger mistake than the tattoo, and besides, I like my the other tattoos on my left arm, and as a Writer, I sorta need two arms to type fast.
Of course, it’s overly simplistic to assume that McQueen’s temporary love and permanent tattoo provoked him to commit suicide. He’d suffered greater losses. His mother had died of cancer earlier in 2010. In 2007, eccentric style icon Isabella Blow, his close friend, muse, and earliest patron ended her life at the end of a bottle of weed killer. Ouch.
McQueen, I’m happy to have something totally foolish in common with you. You make me proud of my tattoo, because you were also a sucker for someone who definitely didn’t deserve you, and all morbid thoughts aside, I still love your skulls, I just wish you hadn’t become one.
For more bio on the late Great McQueen, here’s “McQueen & I.” It’s quite an exposition on his relationship with the equally tragically fated Isabella Blow and delves into how McQueen was really all about Art for Art’s sake. I also love that he is chubby for most of the documentary; he loved fashion, and pork pies.