“I’m 40 now, but I want this to be a company that lives way beyond me, and I believe that customers are more important to making that happen than press. When I’m dead, hopefully this house will still be going. On a spaceship. Hopping up and down above earth.” (Alexander McQueen, Love magazine interview, 2010)
The man may be gone, but his legend lives on-celebrities, designers, and Chictopians alike pay tribute to the late Alexander McQueen with bold, stunning styles. Read on to learn about the man behind the runway, his vision, his success, and what’s next for his empire.
Lee Alexander McQueen was born in London on March 17th, 1969. After working his way up through apprenticeships and jobs with tailors, and completing his Master’s degree in Fashion Design, he showed his first collection in 1992. Isabella Blow bought the entire thing…and his career “blew” up from there.
McQueen was famous for his impeccable tailoring and sharp contrasts in his work: fragility vs. strength, tradition vs.modernity, fluidity vs. severity. It is obvious that he worked with great passion, and his pieces invoke deep emotional response from many. His runways shows were spectacles to behold-held in unusual locations, they were beautiful and strange works of performance art, often involving use of unique technologies-spray paint and holograms, for example.
McQueen was great friends with the late once-editor of Vogue, Isabella Blow. She is often cited as the one who first discovered McQueen’s talent, and she remained his muse until her death in 2007. Lady Gaga has also been called McQueen’s “unofficial muse” and is often spotted wearing the designer’s avant-garde looks.
Many of McQueen’s collections feature elements of nature. His “Manta” collection (FW10), was inspired by a trip to the Maldives, and the SS11 collection (the first presented without McQueen), showed many unconventional floral, butterfly, and feather details.
Along with his own eyewear line and perfume label, McQueen’s styles were featured in Lady Gaga’s viral “Bad Romance” and “Telephone” videos. He was the youngest designer to win the British Fashion Designer of the Year award in 1996, and went on to win the award 3 more times in his life. Other awards include the International Designer of the Year by The CFDA, A Most Excellent Commander of The British Empire by her Majesty the Queen, and the GQ Menswear Designer of the Year.
After McQueen’s tragic passing in February 2010, much speculation swirled around the heir to the McQueen throne.
Sarah Burton, who worked with McQueen for 20 years, has taken over and promises to carry on McQueen’s vision. And so she has- the Resort 2011 and FW11 Menswear collections were successes-Burton has upheld the dramatic and natural inspiration that make McQueen’s brand unique, but with a softened touch.
As Seen On…
Celebrities continue to pay tribute to McQueen, wearing his breathtaking pieces to red carpet events all through 2010 and into this year. Famous fans include Michelle Obama, January Jones, and Blake Lively.
Alexander McQueen’s designs were innovative, clever, and utterly unique. He took fashion to great heights, and will be remembered as a visionary and an icon. We are truly blessed to have experienced the products of his creativity in the short time that he spent on this earth.
Thank you, Alexander McQueen. (1969-2010)
What’s your favorite McQueen collection? Comment below or tweet me @headbandit