Alexander McQueen: Enfant terrible and fashion genius

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Alexander McQueen was one of the most respected fashion designers in the world.

During an illustrious career, he won critical acclaim throughout the industry and had a string of awards to show for it.

Born in the East End of London in March 1969, he was the youngest of six children and left school at the age of 16.

The son of a taxi driver, he was already making dresses for his sisters at a young age but was given his first break at Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard after joining as an apprentice.

During his time working at Savile Row, his clients included the former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the Prince of Wales.

He then went on to work for Gieves & Hawkes and theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans.

At the age of 20, he spent time working for Koji Tatsuno before switching to Milan.

His profile was elevated in the early 1990s when his own line of low "bumster" trousers were launched in London.

In 1994, he applied to London's prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and did not take long to make waves in the industry.

After receiving a masters degree in fashion design, his entire collection was famously bought by influential stylist Isabella Blow.

They remained close and McQueen was said to be devastated when she died aged 48 after swallowing weedkiller in May 2007.

She was credited with launching McQueen's career and was thought to have convinced McQueen to use his middle name - Alexander - instead of his first name Lee.

Although he developed a widespread following, his rebellious style was not to everyone's liking.

In 1996, he was dubbed the "hooligan of English fashion" and "enfant terrible" by the French press after being named head designer at Givenchy in Paris.

The tag was seen as a more of a reference to his close-cropped hair and Doc Martens than his fashion style and McQueen went on to silence his critics.

He caused controversy in 1998 with a show that included car robots spraying paint over white cotton dresses and a double amputee walking down the catwalk with wooden legs.

But his unconventional fashion shows, which once featured a life-sized hologram of supermodel Kate Moss, had became synonymous with his style.

He left Givenchy in 2001 after saying the role was "constraining his creativity" and went on to link up with Gucci to become creative director.

He was openly gay and, in the summer of 2000, married his lover George Forsyth, a documentary film maker.

The ceremony took place in Ibiza in a yacht with Moss reportedly a bridesmaid.

Singers Lady GaGa and Rihanna were also among his many celebrity fans.

By the end of 2006, he had boutiques across the world, including London, Paris, New York, Milan, Moscow and Beijing.

His honours included being named British designer of the year three times between 1996 and 2003.

He has also been awarded the CBE and was crowned International Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designer Awards.