McQueen found dead on eve of his mother's funeral

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Fashion world shocked by suicide of Alexander McQueen as Twitter page reveals impact of designer's loss

Lee Alexander McQueen, the son of an East End taxi driver who rose to become one of Britain's most acclaimed fashion designers, was found dead at his home in London yesterday after committing suicide on the eve of his mother's funeral.

The 40-year-old had been making the final touches to his spring collection, which was due to be unveiled in Paris next month. He was found hanged at his flat in Mayfair, shortly after 10am yesterday.

He had been struggling to cope with the death, 11 days ago, of his beloved mother, Joyce. Writing on his Twitter page, McQueenWorld, last week, he told followers: "I'm letting you know my mother passed away yesterday if it she had not me nor would you RIP mumXXXXXXXXXX."

A minute later, he added: "But life must go on!" And then on Sunday he wrote: "Sunday evening been a fucking awful week but my friends have been great but now I have to some how pull myself together..."

His company issued a statement saying: "Lee McQueen, the founder and designer of the Alexander McQueen brand, has been found dead at his home... We are devastated and are sharing a sense of shock and grief with Lee's family." He was pronounced dead at the scene by ambulance staff.

A few years ago, in an interview organised by the film-maker Sam Taylor-Wood, Mrs McQueen interviewed her son. When she asked him what his greatest fear was, he replied: "Dying before you." She said: "Thank you, son."

Alexandra Shulman, editor of British Vogue, paid tribute to McQueen last night, saying: "Lee McQueen influenced a whole generation of designers. His brilliant imagination knew no bounds as he conjured up collection after collection of extraordinary designs.

"At one level he was a master of the fantastic, creating astounding fashion shows that mixed design, technology and performance, and on another he was a modern-day genius whose gothic aesthetic was adopted by women the world over. His death is the hugest loss to anyone who knew him and for very many who didn't."

McQueen was one of six children born to an East End taxi driver. He left school at 16 to work as a tailor's apprentice on Savile Row, where his clients included Mikhail Gorbachev and the Prince of Wales. With his ultra-short hair, Dr Martens boots and penchant for shock tactics at his early catwalk shows, McQueen was the enfant terrible of the fashion world. He created "bumsters", trousers with a waistband so low that the buttocks are revealed.

He was discovered by Isabella Blow, the style guru and fashion director of Tatler magazine who killed herself in May 2007 by taking weedkiller after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She bought all the clothes he made for his graduate show for £5,000. They were delivered to her in bin-liners.

McQueen hit the mainstream when he was chosen to succeed John Galliano at Givenchy in 1996. He stayed with the fashion house until 2001 but left to concentrate on his own label, which was 51 per cent owned by Gucci.

He was named British designer of the year four times between 1996 and 2003, received a CBE, and was to be named International Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designer Awards.

Openly gay, McQueen described himself as the "pink sheep of the family". He said: "I was sure of myself and my sexuality and I've got nothing to hide. I went straight from my mother's womb on to the gay parade."

Tributes to a brilliant man

In a world where every man and his dog is a designer... Alexander McQueen was the real deal. [He] was the greatest and most genuinely talented designer I have ever worked with.

Philip Treacy, milliner



He was a genius. What a terrible, tragic waste.

Katharine Hamnett, designer

I am shocked and deeply saddened by McQueen's death. He was a genius and his talent was second to none. Like many, I always cited him as a hugely inspirational leader of world fashion. He will be greatly missed.

Matthew Williamson, designer

I am truly devastated to lose my close friend. His talent had no boundaries and he was an inspiration to everyone who worked with him and knew him. This is a sad day for all who loved him around the world and my condolences are with his family. Naomi Campbell, supermodel

I am devastated and saddened beyond belief. He had a massive influence in fashion (and will continue to do so).

Hussein Chalayan, designer

It's absolutely tragic. It's just horrendous to think that someone was so devastated by his mother dying. I loved McQueen – he had such lovely vision.

Helena Bonham Carter, actress

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape