Lee Alexander McQueen born on March 17, 1969 and passed away on February 11, 2010 in London, United Kingdom. He was known as simply Alexander McQueen to the fashion world. McQueen’s dad was a cab driver and his mother was a schoolteacher who taught Social Science. He was youngest of six children. He knew at a young age of three of his homosexuality and children used to make fun of him for it. He states that, “Actually, yeah. I would wear my sister’s clothes and people wouldn’t recognise it because I’d wear them in a male way.
I did go round my street once in my sister’s bra when I was about 12 years old and the neighbours thought I was a freaky kid, got dirty looks and all that… ” When he was 16 years old he dropped out of high school and got an apprenticeship with Anderson & Sheppard. While working there he gained experience tailoring custom suits for men. When he was 21 he worked for Angels and Berman Costume Company where he received the experience in pattern cutting and became very skilled in. While working for this costume company would later give McQueen his stamp on his own fashion line.
After working for Angels and Berman he left London to work in Milan for a designer by the name of Romeo Gigli being his assistant of design. After working and gaining experience in the fashion world he attended Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design where he received his M. A. in fashion design in the year of 1992. In 1993 McQueen debuted his graduation collection that was inspired by Jack the ripper. Isabella Blow bought his collection entirely for 5,000. Blow was one of McQueen’s hugest admirers. A popular design that was created entitled the “bumster” pants for women in 1994.
The bumster pants were designed to sit low on one’s hip revealing part of their but. Stated by Michael Oliveira-Salac, the director of Blow PR, “For me it was the look that put him on the map because it was controversial. ” McQueen is known for his out of the norm fashion shows and designs. McQueen describes his audience reaction to his fashion shows as, “This is why my shows always throw people completely: one minute I see a lovely chiffon dress and the next minute I see a girl in this cage that makes her walk like a puppet… His next venture would be working for Louis Vuitton owned by Givenchy as chief in design.
He describes his expectations for this new venture as, “I am and I’m not. To me, I’m sort of saving a sinking ship and not because of John Galliano, but because of the house. It doesn’t really seem to know where it’s going at the moment and, at the end of the day, they’ve got to depend on great clothes, not the great name. ” In 1996 he was awarded his first British Fashion award. He will later on win this award the following year in 1997, 2001, and 2003.
When he received his last British Fashion award in 2003 it was by Queen Elizabeth the II. He designed a jacket for David Bowie’s album cover in 1997 titled “Earthling”. In a recent article entitled “Bowie vs. Alexander McQueen” in Dazed magazine is about a conversation between the two famous British icons. In this conversation McQueen is asked numerous questions by Bowie one being his perspective on other famous designers such as Versace and Armani. This is McQueen’s opinion of Versace, “He’s close to dead.
I mean, no one wants to wear a floppy suit in a nice wool – the man was a bloody window dresser. What does he know? ” He expresses his experience working for the costume company saying, “Well, I hate the theatre, I hate it. I used to work in the theatre. I used to make costumes for them and films, and it’s one thing I’ve always detested – the theatre. I hate going to the theatre, it bores me shitless. ” Another interesting part of this conversation was when Bowie asks, “Do you think of clothes themselves as being a way of torturing society? McQueen responded, “I don’t put such an importance on clothes, anyway.
I mean at the end of the day they are, after all, just clothes and I can’t cure the world of illness with clothes. I just try to make the person that’s wearing them feel more confident in themselves because I am so unconfident. I’m really insecure in a lot of ways and I suppose my confidence comes out in the clothes I design anyway. I’m very insecure as a person. ” Some of McQueen’s favorite designers are, “My favourite designer, though, Rei Kawakubo.
She’s the only one I buy, the only clothes I buy ever for myself as a designer are Comme des Garcons. ” A philosopher that had influenced him was, “Possibly. I gather some influence from the Marquis de Sade because I actually think of him as a great philosopher and a man of his time, where people found him just a pervert. (laughs) I find him sort of influential in the way he provokes people’s thoughts. It kind of scares me. That’s the way I think but, at the end of the day, that’s the way my entity has grown and, all in all, in my life, it’s the way I am.
These are just a few pieces of the conversation they had together I felt that it helped describe some crucial points of McQueen personality as a designer. McQueen thought out of the box, which is what helped make his designs and fashion, shows an experience to remember. Here are dates and examples of some of his fashion shows. In 1998 he showed his spring 1999 collection, one of his models was on the stage a lone spinning in a white bouffant dress while two machines were spraying paint on her as well as her dress.
Another show he had in Paris in 1999 was made of ice and the models had to ice skate down the runway. 2000 he had a fashion show for his spring 2001 collection with a glass wall between the audience and the runway and all the models heads were bandaged. In 2002 he released his 2003 with models dancing down the runways as if they in the 1696 movie entitled, “They Shoot Horses Don’t They. ” 2003 his fashion show was entitled “Shipwreck” the models had clothes on that looked as if they had just gone through this experience.
In 2004 he set up his spring 2005 with the models as pieces from a chess game. 2006 he had a hologram of model Kate Moss. In 2000 the Gucci group bought 51 percent of Alexander McQueen’s company. While working as chief of design for Givenchy he stated that, “Well, yeah, but you know I can only do it the way I do it. That’s why they chose me and if they can’t accept that, they’ll have to get someone else. They’re going to have no choice at the end of the day because I work to my own laws and requirements, not anyone else’s. In this move to sell a percent of his line helped him branch out on his own.
Not to long after this he left Givenchy he opened five stores one in New York City, Milan, London, Las Vegas, and lastly Los Angeles. In 2003 he came out with a fragrance brand entitled “Kingdom”. 2007 Isabella Blow committed suicide McQueen dedicated his 2008 Fall/Winter collection to her. This uneasy tragedy was heartbreaking for him Isabella Blow was the first person to discover his talent. In his 2009 men’s fashion he flourished with his line in Milan.
He also created a line with Target called McQ, which helped increase his business in America. For his fall 2009 show he made a huge statement by putting all his past creations on the runway in doing this he was expressing the slump in the economy. Another product he is famous for is his armadillo shoe that Lady Gaga wore. When Alexander McQueen’s mother died after battling cancer he was found dead shortly after her passing. His cause of death was ruled a suicide by hanging himself. His maid found him in his London apartment. After his death the Gucci group decided to continue his legacy.
His final collection debuted in 2010 to a little group of fashion editors in Paris. His designs were inspired by 15th century paintings. In 2010 New York City Metropolitan museum showed some of his famous collections. Since the passing of Alexander McQueen Sarah Burton is currently the head of his company. She worked closely with him for 14 years, I feel she was the right fit for this job. Who better than someone who worked side by side with him for so many years. She was able to see McQueen’s insight on his designs, cuts, and imagination. She would continue his legacy in the fashion world.