I just now heard about this and I am honestly shocked. I feel devastated for his family, the world of fashion and myself (as selfish as that is). Lee McQueen was a great man in my books as I truly think he changed the way we think about fashion. In these days when we are forced to watch couture houses die one after another he helped us to understand that we can see the beauty of it in everyday life, by making the most amazing and extraordinary pieces of ready-to-wear fashion.
To be gone in such a young age is horrible. And I know that his family must be going through a hell right now. So all my prays go to their direction. There’s nothing more terrible than to loose someone you love dearly before their time.
“I’m interested in designing for posterity. People who buy McQueen are going to hand the clothes down to their children. And that’s very rare today”
– Alexander Mcqueen for Harper’s Bazaar
Alexander McQueen (17 March 1969 -11 February 2010) was born in 1969 in Hackney, London, the son of a taxi driver, McQueen started making dresses for his three sisters at a young age and announced his intention of becoming a fashion designer. He said that one of his earliest memories was from around the age of 3 when he drew a picture of a dress on a piece of bare wall which had been exposed by peeling wallpaper in the council house where his family lived. McQueen jokingly called it his first design sketch.
Alexander McQueen dropped out of school at age 16 to pursue his dream of a career in fashion design, learning tailoring on apprenticeship at Savile Row and after that pattern making from theatre costumiers Angels and Bermans. He showed his degree collection fresh out of the Central Saint Martins Masters program in 1994, which was famously bought in entirely by style icon and fashion editor Isabella Blow.
The president of LVMH, Bernard Arnault caused a stir when he instated McQueen as head designer at Givenchy in 1996, succeeding John Galliano. Upon arrival at Givenchy, McQueen insulted the founder by calling him ‘irrelevant’. Thus, his first couture collection with Givenchy was unsuccessful, with even McQueen telling Vogue in October 1997 that the collection was “crap”. McQueen toned down his act at Givenchy, but continued to indulge his rebellious streak, causing controversy in Autumn 1998 with a show which included car-robots spraying paint over white cotton dresses, and double amputee model Aimee Mullins striding down the catwalk on intricately carved wooden legs. McQueen stayed with Givenchy until March 2001, when the contract he said was “constraining his creativity” was ended.
The label is known for its dramatic, beautifully constructed pieces, combining British tailoring with French couture in a way that the pieces become pieces of art. Signature looks included billowy dresses cut in hourglass silhouettes, frock coats paired with skinny pants, sharp, angular suiting, and darkly romantic gowns covered in intricate embroidery and lace. McQueen was also known for having extravagant and unconventional fashion shows, which have included shipwrecks and holograms i.e.
Gucci Group acquired 51 percent of the label in 2000. Between the years 1996 and 2003 he won four times the tittle “British designer of the year”. He was also awarded CBE and was named International Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designer Awards.
In 2004, McQueen designed his first menswear collection and was named British Menswear Designer of the Year by the British Fashion Council. The brand introduced fragrances in 2003 and 2005 (Kingdom and MyQueen) and in January 2006 launched McQ, a more affordable, denim-based ready-to-wear line including menswear, womenswear, and accessories. McQueen flagships stores are in London, New York, Milan, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, and franchised stores are in Istanbul and Moscow.
Rest in peace Alexander.