Among the speakers at the press conference held earlier this week as the Metropolitan Museum of Art unveiled its stellar spring 2011 Costume Institute exhibition, “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” was fashion designer Stella McCartney, who co-chaired Monday evening’s gala benefit with Colin Firth and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. “I’m here as a friend, and to celebrate [McQueen’s] magnificent work, and how I proud I am,” she said. We took this video of McCartney recounting fond memories of the late designer, including her fateful introduction of “Lee” (as friends knew him) to Domenico de Sole, then president and CEO of PPR-owned Gucci Group.
McQueen would go on, in December 2000, to quit his post as creative director of LVMH-owned Givenchy and sell a 51 percent share of his own business to Gucci Group in a multi-million dollar deal that he celebrated in humble fashion: by taking a close friend to the coastal town of Brighton, England, where he walked his dogs on the beach at dusk. A few months later, McCartney signed her own mega-deal for a signature label under the Gucci Group umbrella. “Dramatic, subversive, and just plain beautiful” is how she described McQueen’s creations at the press conference. “It’s a very far journey from the East End of London here, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it’s his moment, and it’s well-deserved.”