Annabelle Neilson opens up about her friendship with Alexander McQueen and his death

For over 20 years Annabelle Neilson, star of Bravo’s new reality show Ladies of London, was close friend and muse to acclaimed fashion designer Alexander McQueen who tragically took his life on February 11th, 2010.

The previews for the Bravo show one close friend commenting on how Annabelle dramatically changed after the death of her best friend 4 years ago. She wrote a fascinating piece in the Apr 14, 2011 edition of Harper’s Bazaar about Lee Alexander’s death and her unique relationship with him:

“After the excitement (and the stress) of Lee’s show in Paris, we would plan a vacation for both of our birthdays; I was born two weeks after him. Sometimes we went to the Maldives or the Alps or to swim with the dolphins in Thailand. ”

Lee was born March 16th so the interview took place a few weeks after.

“This year, acknowledging his birthday without him has been especially difficult.”

“I spent the day before Lee’s passing at his home. We spent every day together after [his mother] Joyce died, and we were still planning a holiday for our birthdays after his show.”

“I got a call from his private assistant the next day when it was discovered what had happened. Lee was constantly fighting with his demons; he had these highs and he had these lows.”

“That phone call was the single lowest moment of my life…..”

“At first, because it was easier, I packed up everything he had made for me because I couldn’t look at it. For me, and for Lee, clothes are memory. They are history. Lee always said he liked me to wear his clothes because he knew when they were on me, they would have an adventure.”

Annabelle was so devastated by his sudden death that she packed up the clothes that McQueen had made for her and placed them in storage. It wasn’t until months later that she took them out of storage and started wearing them again.

“Even though he was gone, I could feel him with me. Now I feel honored to wear them, and I feel honored that I have so many of his designs. It is truly a privilege to be a small vessel that keeps his creative talent alive.”

She claimed that watching him work was like “watching Picasso paint”. Annabelle recounts Alexander’s difficult road to acclaim in the fashion world:

“Let’s not forget he started a worldwide fashion empire from London’s East End, where he grew up. It shows what someone can do with talent and determination.”

She goes on to describe their special relationship:

“I often think back to our early years, nearly two decades ago, when Isabella took me to see Lee in his studio in Hoxton Square. She was always shoving girls in his face, but he could tell I wasn’t desperate to be a model. He took off my clothes, said he admired my filthy vocabulary, and agreed to dress me for a Paolo Roversi portrait. …. It took a few years for us to become truly close, but eventually we would share moments and giggles. I became accustomed to that dirty little laugh of his.”

So Annabelle will without a doubt be one of the most interesting characters in this Bravo reality series. She is obviously still coping with this epic tragedy in her life. Hopefully we will continue to learn more about this fascinating relationship.

UPDATE: 12/10/2014 Scot Young dead after tragic fall

Bravo’s ‘Ladies of London’ premiere recap

More on Bravo’s Ladies of London

Leave a Comment