A suite at the Georges V in Paris, littered with room service, a cute boyfriend hiding in the bathroom, jet lag from an overnight flight from New York and what seems like a pretty nasty come-down. And yet Alexander McQueen is as sweet and funny and blokey and matey as he’s ever been to me.
It’s 2001, he’s still at Givenchy and hating every minute. The French fashion establishment is down on him as well it might be bearing in mind he’s in the process of dismantling their reputation as the be-all and end-all of mode. Yves Saint Laurent had recently called him a “talentless upstart”. “People should know when to pack it in,” said McQueen of that particular fashion icon.
His star was still rising, legendary status was around the corner but, even though Kate Moss had just done bridesmaid duties at a sort-of-wedding with George (the boy in the bathroom) and he was talking about having a child, suicide was already on McQueen’s mind.
Simon Gage: Do you ever think about death?
I’m not happy with this. This is nothingness. Yeah, there are beautiful sights in the world, but as for human beings… there are too many black souls out there to make this a happy place
Alexander McQueen: All the time! I can’t wait to go. It’s got to be better than this. George feels the same. We’re fascinated that this is not the end picture. I’m not happy with this. This is nothingness. Yeah, there are beautiful sights in the world, but as for human beings… there are too many black souls out there to make this a happy place. I’m not advocating taking drugs or anything but… You understand why you want to get on another plane when you’ve got all this shit to deal with. It’s like, just get me out of this f––king hole and I don’t give a shit what it takes.
SG: But you have everything you ever dreamed of when you were sitting in your bedroom in Stratford
AM: That was exactly it! I got Givenchy and I had my down payment put into my account and that same day I paid my aunt off my money for St. Martin’s and I went and bought a house in Islington. I bought it outright! I thought: all this time I’ve been worrying about being homeless and freaking about not being able to feed myself and it was just like [clicks fingers] instantaneous. You get to that point where you’ve met the Queen… Well, I haven’t met her because I don’t want to.
SG: Have you been given the chance?
AM: Yeah and I didn’t turn up, because I’m an anti-royalist.
SG: You met the Blairs though…
AM: Yeah. I didn’t really care for Tony Blair that much either really. He came across as really superficial and so did his wife. She actually pulled me towards her for a picture and I was like [freaked-out look], “What?”
SG: You talk about how your life changed instantly. At what point does it become all about the money and never mind the clothes?
AM: If it got to that point then I’d stop. I’ve got enough money to live on now but when I lose my passion for fashion then I quit. I’ve never been a materialistic person so it’s really hard to comprehend people who are because what are you going to do with it? Bury yourself in it? I think I’ve always been the sort of person that’ll end up poor at the end of it. I was born with shit, I’ll f––king die with shit. It’s like the fame thing. I’ve always been a wallflower, I like to look in on the situation but it’s really brain-f––ky because all of a sudden the wall’s turned right around on you. And I don’t like it. It’s really freaked me out. I can feel it now that I’m a more famous person and it gives me panic attacks. I’m even shaking right now thinking about it.
SG: So, how was the wedding? Wasn’t it on someone’s yacht?
AM: How did you know that? Yeah, it was on this Prince of Gambia’s yacht with this new age priest, ‘cause I’m an atheist. Kate Moss and Annabelle Neilson were our bridesmaids. Karen Mulder was there and Sadie Frost and Jude Law. It was all surreal but we’re doing it again in London. It got a bit out of hand ‘cause there was too many celebs so we want to do it again, properly with our real family, not just people that happen to be on a f––king giant great big yacht in Ibiza.
SG: Why did you want to get married?
AM: ‘Cause I love George and I believe in monogamy. He’s too much of a good catch. Not just the way he looks but the way he thinks. It’s really rare to come across another gay guy that thinks the same as you. People don’t believe there are gay people out there who just want to settle down. And yeah, I do want to have a kid. F––k it. I’m the youngest of six, I’ve got so many nieces and nephews, I’ve got a godson now and I want to have a kid and believe I should be able to have a kid.
SG: Do you want the wedding to be public?
AM: He doesn’t want it to be public. His mum and dad don’t want it to be public. But we’re very pro-gay and we’ve been thinking of doing it in Hello! just to show people.
SG: So you’re not all about partying and male models?
AM: No! I’m happiest with George, on our own with our dogs, getting stoned or getting nutted. We do things like at four o’clock in the morning just take the dogs down to Brighton. I do like going out once in a while… but there’ll always be people who try and play you and it gets a bit intense.
SG: When was the last time you decked someone?
AM: Once at G-A-Y I broke a glass ashtray over someone’s head. The most recent time I nearly decked someone it was because of George. The guy knew he was with me but he kept on looking at George. In the end, I just went up to him and said, “Can’t you see I’m with my bloke? Yeah, he’s a good-looking man but look, appreciate him and then move on or I’m just going to f––king knock you out now!” C