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Famous for powerful, shocking and sometimes even disturbing runway shows, McQueen was a bold designer never afraid of criticism. He was inspired by a range of topics from politics to nature and his designs blurred the lines between fashion and art. His unexpected death in 2010 left shock and sadness around the world.
Born in March 1969 Lee Alexander McQueen was one of 5 to a taxi driver in London. He knew from the age of 6 he was gay and left school at 16 with just one O Level in Art.
His career started on an Apprenticeship scheme on London’s Saville Row and he moved on quickly to work with theatrical costume designers as an assistant in Milan.
He applied to be a pattern cutter tutor at Central Saint Martins but was offered a spot in the Masters program and a year later (aged 23) he founded Alexander McQueen, after his entire collection was bought by Isabella Blow; Tatler’s Magazine Fashion Editor and Fashion Guru (famed for her designer hats). Blow incidentally went on to kill herself with weedkiller in 2007 at the age of 48.
By the age 27 McQueen was asked to design the whole of David Bowie’s stage wardrobe and he also became the head designer at Givenchy.
By 31 Gucci acquired 51% of his company and he married his partner George Forsyth (but they divorced a year later). By 32 he departed Givenchy citing constraints on his creativity as the reason. McQueen received the rank of Commander of the of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire at 34 and at 37 revealed to the world that he was abused as a child by his sister’s husband.
His brand ‘McQ’ was launched to appeal to a younger audience at more affordable prices for men and women and his Autumn/Winter 2006 collection displayed a hologram of Kate Moss.
Drugs and depression blighted his life, and having overdosed twice and survived he finally committed suicide in his own home at the age of 40, following the passing of his mother.
At Dress we often see pieces by Alexander McQueen and his more youthful brand McQ, he is one of favourite designers. It’s only when you put a piece of his collection on that you see and appreciate the real beauty of the style and the cut, he was a master at highlighting the female shape with his pieces of fashion, whilst pushing the boundaries with others.
We loved this Alexander McQueen swing coat that recently sold in our store, and this Little Black Dress is a timeless classic that will never go out of fashion. Also see our McQ leggings, when on their appearance is of full leg tattoos!
Here at Dress we have been fortunate enough to work with Robert Fairer, McQueen’s fashion photographer on a recent photo shoot project, you can see a copy of our signed Unseen by McQueen book on show in our boutique in Prestbury Village.
Visit our website or call into our boutique to find out more.