Shock and sadness throughout the world today as one of the Worlds foremost fashion designers, Alexander McQueen is found dead in his home.
Lee Alexander McQueen (16 March 1969 – 11 February 2010)
Born in 1969 as the youngest of six children to a taxi driver and a teacher in Lewisham, London, Lee Alexander McQueen stayed true to his working class roots even when rising to the top of the fashion world. The combination of his working class background and his controversial designs and flamboyant style quickly earned him nicknames in the media such as "l'enfant terrible" "the hooligan of English fashion".
In McQueen's early career he trainded as a tailor and pattern cutter Anderson & Sheppard in Saville Row, the London street famous for housing the many of best British tailors including Gieves & Hawkes which he joined later. In the very traditional and formal setting of Saville Row McQueen kept his rebellious streak at bay but later confessed to sewing "I am a cunt" into the lining of a jacket he worked on for Prince Charles.
His Career as a designer took off at the prestigious school Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design where he applied as a pattern cutter tutor but was persuaded by the Head Master to enroll as a stude
When McQueen graduated from Saint Martins the influential fashion stylist Isabella Blow bought the entire graduation show collection. The two formed a friendship that McQueen described as "beyond fashion" and which lasted until Isabella Blow´s suicide in 2007 after which he dedicated his entire Spring/Summer 2008 collection to her. Isabella blow is said to have persuaded McQueen to change his name from Lee McQueen to Alexander (his middle name) McQueen and not only kick-started his design career but stayed a close friend and advisor throughout their friendship.
Already known as the bad boy of fashion McQueen went to work with Koji Tatsuno and later moved to Milan to work for Romeo Gigli. The of LVMH president, Bernard Arnault, controversially installed McQueen as John Galliano's successor at Givenchy in 1996. McQueen told Vogue in October 1997 that his debut couture offering for the label was "crap", but he stayed with the house until March 2001 - continuing to create challenging collections, including one featuring car-robots spraying paint over white cotton dresses and double amputee model Aimee Mullins striding down the catwalk on intricately carved wooden legs.
McQueens launched his own label McQueen in 2000 with the Spring 2001 collection with the Gucci Group owning 51 percent of the label in 2000. 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.
McQueen won the title British Designer of the Year four times between 1996 and 2003 and was named the International Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designer Awards. He was awarded the CBE (Commander, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by her majesty the Queen of England.
Though McQueen has often been associated with colorful tartans he always used black in his collections from edgy sexy leather to tailored suits. On formal occasions he was often seen in slick black suits. McQueen knew how to use the colour black for class and effect alike.