Alexander McQueen

BATD ON Dec 29, 2008 AT 12:58 pm

Alexander Mcqueen Himself

Alexander Mcqueen Himself

Fashion’s enfant terrible, made his name with shock tactic shows including, the outrageous, Highland Rape. His stunningly scandalous shows and controversial designs, such as his bumster trousers, have titillated and amazed, riveting the world of fashion. Indeed, it is of little surprise that McQueen is so theatrical in his style, given that he spent his early years working at renowned theatrical costumiers Berman and Nathan.

Born Lee Alexander McQueen in 1970, the son of an East End cab driver, his roots bear little in common with the glamorous world of fashion. The stereotype of his upbringing juxtaposes precisely with the fact that he is a gay fashion designer; hence he refers to himself as the “pink sheep” of the family. He uses his middle name due to the fact that when he was first being noticed by the press, he was on the Dole and didn’t want the authorities to recognise his name.

Alexander McQueen Catwalk Show

Alexander McQueen Catwalk Show

McQueen began his career in fashion at Gieves & Hawkes, where he trained in classic Savile Row tailoring, which is evident in his skilfully mastered creations today. His penchant for controversy first appeared when he sewed the words “I am a c**t” into the lining of a jacket he was tailoring for the Prince of Wales. It was this Laissez-faire attitude towards authority which set Alexander McQueen apart from the rigors of his contemporaries and created a buzz around his designs.

McQueen then went on to study at the prestigous Central Saint Martins where in 1991, legendary stylist Isabella Blow, bought his entire degree show collection, placing McQueen’s name securely on the fashion radar. After her suicide in 2007, McQueen dedicated his Spring Summer 2008 collection to Blow, as a tribute to everything she had helped him achieve.

Alexander Mcqueen Spring Summer 2009

Alexander Mcqueen Spring Summer 2009

McQueen’s style centres around a very structured hour-glass silhouette, his Savile Row training evident in the sharp tailoring of his signature frock coats, pencil skirts and slim leg cigarette pants. However, McQueen’s ornate detailing is what makes his designs truly breathtaking. Delicate lace underlayers and rich embroidery are evidence of McQueen’s remarkable talent.

After surviving for 10 years on his own, he was brought into the Gucci Group in 2002, when they bought a 51% stake in his business. 2008 saw the first year for McQueen to turn a profit as well as the opening of new stores worldwide.

Despite his success, it seems McQueen has plans outside of fashion, telling The Observer in 2003, “I wasn’t born on to this planet to be a complete stitch bitch all my life.”

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