Known for his dramatic statement pieces and impeccable tailoring, McQueen received recognition from Queen Elizabeth II in 2003, when she made him a Commander of the British Empire for his fashion leadership. "McQueen influenced a whole generation of designers. His brilliant imagination knew no bounds as he conjured up collection after collection of extraordinary designs," said Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue. "At one level he was a master of the fantastic, creating astounding fashions shows that mixed design, technology and performance, and on another he was a modern-day genius whose gothic aesthetic was adopted by women the world over."
McQueen received his training at the Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design, long recognized for its fashion-forward approach and encouragement of young designers. He worked for traditional Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard and also Gieves and Hawkes before branching out into his own more theatrical designs.
McQueen’s runway shows — often more like performance pieces because they were so dramatic and, sometimes, bizarre — were always a highlight during the Paris ready-to-wear fashion week.
He took risks in his work, and had a reputation for stirring controversy with shock tactics, earning him the title “l’enfant terrible” of the fashion world. But it was his talent that made him a star.
McQueen died days before London Fashion Week, although he was not scheduled to show in the British capital. His death came just three years after the death of Isabella Blow, the woman who discovered him. Blow, an English magazine editor and fashion director, bought McQueen’s entire line for his graduate show. She committed suicide in May 2007 after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
- Today MSNBC
I personally am saddened beyond belief. He was such a great talent and no one will ever know what was so troubling in his life that he felt the need to end it. I suppose could have had something to do with the death of his mother last week, she was his biggest support, but personally I believe it's just a cowards easy way out. Maybe someday we will be given some answers, but even the untimely death of Isabella Blow was unbelievable despite her illness.
I guess my personal beliefs don't make a difference in the fact that a genius in the fashion world has left us (again) and now all we can hold onto is the wonderful art and fashion he left behind. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and close friends. I hope his soul will be at peace.ALEXANDER McQUEEN BIOGRAPY:
Alexander McQueen was born in London on March 17th 1969 as the youngest of six children. He left school at the age of 16 and was immediately offered an apprenticeship at the traditional Saville Row tailors Anderson and Shephard and then at neighbouring Gieves and Hawkes, both masters in the technical construction of clothing. From there he moved to the theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans where he mastered 6 methods of pattern cutting from the melodramatic 16th Century to the razor sharp tailoring which has become a McQueen signature. Aged 20 he was employed by the designer Koji Tatsuno, who also had his roots in British tailoring. A year later McQueen travelled to Milan where he was gainfully employed as Romeo Gigli’s design assistant. He finally returned to London in 1994 where he completed a Masters degree in Fashion Design at St. Martin’s. His degree collection was famously bought in its entirety by Isabella Blow. Alexander McQueen is known for both the emotional power and raw energy of the shows as well as the romantic but determinedly contemporary nature of the collections. Integral to the McQueen culture is the juxtaposition between contrasting elements: fragility and strength, tradition and modernity and fluidity and severity. An openly emotional and even passionate viewpoint is realised with a profound respect and influence for the arts and crafts tradition. Alexander's collections combine an in-depth working knowledge of: bespoke British tailoring, the fine workmanship of the French Haute Couture atelier and the impeccable finish of Italian manufacturing. In less than 10 years McQueen became one of the most respected fashion designers in the world. In October 1996 he was appointed Chief Designer at the French Haute Couture House Givenchy where he worked until March of 2001. In December 2000, 51% of Alexander McQueen was acquired by the Gucci Group, where he remains to this day as Creative Director. Collections include womens ready-to-wear, mens ready-to-wear, accessories, eyewear and fragrance (Kingdom 2003 and MyQueen 2005). Expansion followed and included the opening of flagship stores in New York, London and Milan. Alexander McQueen collections are now distributed in over 39 countries through 194 wholesale accounts including speciality shops and better department stores. In addition to the mainline collections, partnerships have been formed with Puma in October 2005 for an unexpected and unique exploratory footwear collection and Samsonite in February 2007 resulting in a cutting edge luxury travel range. January 2006 heralded the birth of McQ – Alexander McQueen – a denim based ready to wear line (womenswear, menswear and accessories), manufactured and distributed worldwide by SINV spa. The following awards have recognized Alexander McQueen’s achievement in fashion: British Designer of the year 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2003, International Designer of the Year by The Council of Fashion Designer's of America (CFDA) in 2003, A Most Excellent Commander of The British Empire’ (CBE) by her Majesty the Queen in 2003, and the Fashion and Grooming Awards - Fashion Director’s Award 2007 for McQ.