Lee Alexander McQueen was born in London in 1969. At the age of sixteen, he left school with only one qualification, an O-Level in art. He then went on to complete a tailoring apprenticeship with Anderson & Sheppard. The first insight into fashion. After his apprenticeship, he moved onto another tailor then into the world of theatre costume. McQueen did an MA fashion course at one of the world’s best fashion schools, Central Saint Martins. This course really was the beginning of everything for Alexander. When he graduated in 1992 his final collection was bought by fashion stylist Isabella Blow. She acted almost like a mentor for him, connecting him to other stylists and people who would certainly help his career.
Some incredibly high profile celebrities have worn McQueen creations, from Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Kate Moss, and David Bowie. On the cover of his 1997 album, David Bowie wears a Union Jack suit designed by McQueen; he actually designed the wardrobe for Bowies 1996-1997 tours.
From 1996-2001 McQueen was the creative director for Givenchy. His first collection for the brand was pretty unsuccessful, this caused him to reel it in a little and tone down his designs. It was under the Givenchy brand that McQueen created one of his most iconic runways. His Spring/Summer 1999 collection saw model Shalom Harlow in a plain strapless dress, stand on a revolving section of the runway as she was being sprayed by paint. A monumental moment in fashion history and in fact pop culture. You may not know that McQueen was behind the genius of this, but I’m sure you’d know exactly which runway I’m talking about.
Alexander McQueen was an openly gay man saying he knew about his sexuality when he was six-years-old. After coming out to his parents at eighteen, they took some time to accept. McQueen and his partner had an unofficial wedding in Spain in 2000 with Kate Moss as a bridesmaid. Although the couple split up a year later, they remained close friends.
The first designer I ever really appreciated was McQueen. There was something so raw about his art, I was completely drawn to it. I’ve loved seeing every collection of his since. Although Alexander McQueen passed away from suicide in 2010, I feel like Sarah Burton has continued his legacy respectfully and honourably.