The passing of Alexander McQueen was tragic and it the fashion industry took a huge blow during New York Fashion Week this past February.

Francois-Henri Pinault (President of PPR, the French luxury brand holding company that owns Gucci which owns the McQueen label) announced that the McQueen label would continue, and that “This would be the best tribute that we could offer to him.”

Countless colleagues, friends and fans have expressed that McQueen is irreplaceable. His skill, vision and unique talent will never be replaced but who will take the reins at McQueen?

Rumors started swirling that the goth-driven Gareth Pugh would be the next best creative controller of the brand. Olivier Theyskens was also a name that surfaced. Both rumors were rejected by different camps and the role has yet to be filled.

The point of re-surfacing McQueen’s death is this: What is the future of fashion after the death of a legend? Are there talented designers “worthy” enough to take on creatively different brands, anyone of McQueen caliber to take over? How large is the designer pool? Is the fashion industry doing the best they can to nurture the talents of young and emerging designers?

All of these questions seem to be unanswered, for the most part. This has got me thinking about the mentor/mentee relationship that is so lacking in the fashion industry. Anna Wintour takes interest in a few designers. CFDA President Diane Von Furstenburg has consulted the budding Alexander McQueen. Is this enough?

If Karl passed away (God forbid), what would happen then? He is currently head designer and creative director for Chanel. He has his own fashion house and is also in charge of the Italian house Fendi. He has designed concert outfits for Kylie Minogue, has collaborated with H&M and has lended his talents as fashion advisor to various brands. Lagerfeld has shot photographs and campaigns for Vogue Germany April 2010 Cover, Dior Homme SS10, Chanel Eyewear, Numero Homme SS 10 Cover, Wallpaper Magazine, V Magazine and countless others.

Some argue that Karl and other big designers are just “big picture generals” that oversee the design and creative processes.. that there are plenty of designers who are employed at big time fashion houses that do all the work and have exceptional skill levels. But does skill cut it? Isnt vision what a creative director needs?

Any ideas? I’m sure this is a very real dilemma for fashion houses around the world. A combination of world recession, financial losses and racked up debt and a loss of creative vision – how does a company survive and move on? Is this only applicable for a young company like Alexander McQueen? Is there enough talent/vision for long-surviving labels like John Galliano, Valentino and Ralph Lauren?