One of the questions I get asked the most is why did I start SHOWstudio, and I will always enthusiastically answer by talking about Fashion Film, new technology, showing the process and so on. However perhaps the most important reason was to be able to provide a place where I could collect around me all that I loved; the new and the different. Emerging and undiscovered talents that could have a place to grow and to blossom free from the distorting pressures of commerce.
Back in 2008 the then editor of SHOWstudio, the wonderful Penny Martin, introduced me to her new assistant, a peculiarly handsome young man who was still at the time working for the most refined of banking establishments, Coutts (as a way to fund his fashion education) and with a name that from the offset has a ring of grandeur to it; Alexander Fury.
True to the 'being thrown in at the deep end' nature of SHOWstudio one of the young Alex's first projects was a 3 day long live broadcast from Abbey Road studios, called Fashion Djs. Alex was to be introducing and talking about the acts, wether it was Stella Mc Cartney chatting by phone to Miss Piggy, Naomi Campbells top 10 or Gareth Pughs Day-Glo line dance. No rehearsal time, no script, just living off your wits. As soon as his first words flowed out across the fm airwaves, he shone. At the end of the 3 days and nights Penny took me to one side and whispered to me " he is a little star, you know."
Since that event Alex has gone on to be perhaps one of the most inspirational people I have the pleasure to work with. Our days usually start with Alex casually dropping into conversation, over a fondant fancy he favours for breakfast, some little jem of information, so obscure but so marvellous that it explodes in my mind producing a million new beginnings of ideas, anything from Baudrillard to Babe Paley. To say Alex has an encyclopaedic knowledge of fashion is really not to paint you the full picture. He can pull references for the the social etiquette of the " toilette of Marie Antionette", relate in one sentence Alexander Mcqueens shoes, the prow heads of Renaissance warships and domestic violence and tell stories of The Marchesa De Casati "who wore live snakes as jewellery and who was infamous for her evening strolls, naked beneath her furs and parading her chetahs on diamond studded leashes' as easily as most people can tell you about the weather. We often say people are inspiring but in the case of this particular young man, he is utterly in a league of his own.
A large part of Alex's job at SHOWstudio was to cover the collections. I remember really early on somewhat alarmed reports that the journalist from SHOWstudio was so overcome with excitement at one particular show he was actually applauding whilst standing on his chair. The news just made me think that that is exactly the sort of level of excitement fashion should provoke in people, so good for him I concluded and good for the designer in question too. With the show coverage I always wanted SHOWstudio to offer real critism of the fashion shows and precisely not the highly edited versions of sycophancy that are all to often seen in increasingly desperate attempts to keep fickle advertising brands loyalty.
There are of course a few times where Alex's directive from me to honestly speak his mind, has allowed his passion to get the better of his judgement and designers that were told they would "be better off dead so that they could at least have a grave to spin in" so bad has the show been, have all been calmed with me sending flowers and offering the somewhat harsh but neverthelees true explanation that at least when Alex offers a good review its the truth from his heart.
Both he and I believe firmly that fashion, like any art form, benefits from real criticism and designers like any artists want to really know how there work is percieved, there is nothing more frustrating and harmful than a lack of real debate, so I have always encouraged Alex to not pull any of his punches.
It can be no secret I am heartbroken to lose him but I will have to find a different and less selfish asseement of the situation. If SHOWstudio can provide the environment to develop and nuture talents such as Mr Alexander Fury, then every effort that I have poured into it is more than fully justified. I will never think of trying to replace him, that would not be possible, but instead, to allow the wave of brilliance he has created at SHOWstudio to attract more of the sort of people I love to have near me.
I am so enormously proud of him being given such an amazing opportuniy as he has been to work with Katie at Love Magazine and no one in their right mind would even dream of holding him back from that. Alex and I have projects that we will still work on but for now at least he is off to inspire and excite others. And to anybody else who has the chance to work with him, I would honestly advise them to realise how lucky they are and savour every moment,and relish every pearl of wisdom Alex will give.
There are in my own private sky a few really bright stars, Lee, John, Ruth, Gareth, all people who have lit up my imagination, Alex has been and will be shinning there too. Penny you could not have been more correct in your assessment of this young man.
I will miss you Alex.