By and  on November 8, 2010

There was no shortage of drama—or humor—atthe grand memorial service for Lee AlexanderMcQueen, which took place at St. Paul’sCathedral on a windswept September dayin the thick of London Fashion Week. Some1,200 of McQueen’s friends, family andcolleagues, including Sarah Jessica Parker,Daphne Guinness, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell,Stella McCartney, Hussein Chalayan, and PPRchairman and chief executive François-HenriPinault, gathered at Sir Christopher Wren’sNeoclassical cathedral for the 70-minute“service of thanksgiving” for the 40-year-olddesigner, who committed suicide in February.

There were live performances by Björk andthe London Community Gospel Choir and tributesfrom industry figures and friends, includingShaun Leane, who recalled his first encounterswith McQueen “hammering away” at a sewingmachine in a ramshackle studio, and AnnabelleNielson, who admitted that her friend of 18 yearscould be “a little tricky.” In her tribute, Vogueeditor in chief Anna Wintour called the designera “complex and gifted young man,” who workedout his dreams and demons on fashion’s stage.

“All of it was absolutely fitting, just beautiful,and typically Lee didn’t show up!” saidMcQueen’s old pal Guinness with a smile frombeneath her black veil. She was referring to thedesigner’s tendency to cancel at the last minute,or pull a no-show. “I was like ‘Lee, where areyou? You should be here’,” she said after theservice, as the crowd gathered in the sunshineto listen to the National Youth Pipe Band ofScotland play on the cathedral steps.

“I wouldn’t have missed this for anythingin the world,” said Parker, who was wearinga billowing McQueen cream dress and a rib-hugging black tuxedo jacket. “It was just awonderful way to remember him. It was justbeautiful.”

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