- Associated Press - Monday, September 20, 2010

LONDON (AP) - Fashionistas celebrated the life and legacy of Alexander McQueen in a solemn ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Monday, seven months after his suicide shocked the designing world.

The service for McQueen briefly brought London Fashion Week to a halt as top designers, models and editors came to pay their respects to the enfant terrible of British fashion, who was 40 when he died in early February.

He had a history of depression and was said to be devastated by the recent loss of his mother. His suicide has deprived the British fashion world of its biggest and most controversial star.

The service was attended by many of the models and actresses who loved McQueen’s work, including Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jade Parfitt and others, including designer Stella McCartney.

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of the American edition of Vogue magazine, was the first of McQueen’s admirers to speak. Wearing an elegant black-and-gold outfit, she praised his “exceptional legacy of brilliant inspiration.”

She said McQueen was never satisfied with his work and always vowed to do better, even when he had broken new ground.

Wintour and others hinted at his dark side. She spoke of his sometimes “savage tongue” and the discomfort he felt with the social niceties required by the fashion world.

“We always forgave Alexander,” she said after describing how McQueen failed to show up for his first-ever Vogue photo shoot and then told editors there that he couldn’t care less about the magazine _ one of the fashion industry’s most influential publications.

“It was beautiful, but very intense,” said Parfitt afterward. “I’m at a loss for words.”

Icelandic singer and actress Bjork, wearing an unusual McQueen outfit complete with mock wings, sang “Gloomy Sunday,” a dark song dealing with death and loss popularized by American singer Billie Holiday.

Jewelry designer Shaun Leane spoke about his long, intense friendship with McQueen, and leading hatmaker Philip Treacy read one of the prayers.

McQueen became famous for dramatic and often hard-to-define creations, like lobster-claw high heels. They never sold in great numbers, but his was one of fashion’s best-known brands.

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