Alexander McQueen: Enfant terrible and fashion genius

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.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

    £16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

    Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager

    £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map