Alexander McQueen was born in London on March 17th 1969 as the youngest of six children. He left school at the age of 16 and was immediately offered an apprenticeship at the traditional Saville Row tailors Anderson and Shephard and then at neighbouring Gieves and Hawkes, both masters in the technical construction of clothing.
From there he moved to the theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans where he mastered 6 methods of pattern cutting from the melodramatic 16th Century to the razor sharp tailoring which has become a McQueen signature. Aged 20 he was employed by the designer Koji Tatsuno, who also had his roots in British tailoring. A year later McQueen travelled to Milan where he was gainfully employed as Romeo Gigli"s design assistant. He finally returned to London in 1994 where he completed a Masters degree in Fashion Design at St. Martin"s. His degree collection was famously bought in its entirety by Isabella Blow.
Alexander McQueen is known for both the emotional power and raw energy of the shows as well as the romantic but determinedly contemporary nature of the collections. Integral to the McQueen culture is the juxtaposition between contrasting elements: fragility and strength, tradition and modernity and fluidity and severity. An openly emotional and even passionate viewpoint is realised with a profound respect and influence for the arts and crafts tradition. Alexander"s collections combine an in depth working knowledge of: bespoke British tailoring, the fine workmanship of the French Haute Couture atelier and the impeccable finish of Italian manufacturing.
In less than 10 years McQueen became one of the most respected fashion designers in the world. In October 1996 he was appointed Chief Designer at the French Haute Couture House Givenchy where he worked until March of 2001.
In December 2000, 51% of Alexander McQueen was acquired by the Gucci Group, where he remains to this day as Creative Director. Collections include womens ready to wear, mens ready to wear, accessories, eyewear and fragrance (Kingdom 2003 and MyQueen 2005). Expansion followed and included the opening of flagship stores in New York, London and Milan. Alexander McQueen collections are now distributed in over 39 countries through 194 wholesale accounts including speciality shops and better department stores.
In addition to the mainline collections, partnerships have been formed with Puma in October 2005 for an unexpected and unique exploratory footwear collection and Samsonite in February 2007 resulting in a cutting edge luxury travel range. January 2006 heralded the birth of McQ, Alexander McQueen, a denim based ready to wear line (womenswear, menswear and accessories), manufactured and distributed worldwide by SINV spa.
The following awards have recognized Alexander McQueen"s achievement in fashion: British Designer of the year 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2003, International Designer of the Year by The Council of Fashion Designer"s of America (CFDA) in 2003, A Most Excellent Commander of The British Empire" (CBE) by her Majesty the Queen in 2003, and the Fashion and Grooming Awards Fashion Director"s Award 2007 for McQ.
McQueen"s death was announced on the afternoon of 11 February 2010. He was found hanged that morning in his wardrobe by his housekeeper at his home on Green Street, London W1. Paramedics were called and they pronounced him dead at the scene.
McQueen died days before London Fashion Week, though he was not scheduled to show, and nine days after the death of his mother, Joyce, 75, from cancer.
McQueen left a note saying Look after my dogs, sorry, I love you, Lee.. The Metropolitan Police stated that the death was not suspicious, but did not confirm that the death was a suicide. On 17 February 2010, Westminster Coroner"s Court was told that a post mortem examination found that McQueen"s death was due to asphyxiation and hanging. The inquest was adjourned until 28 April 2010, where McQueen"s death was officially recorded as suicide. McQueen, who had been diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depressive disorder took an overdose prior to hanging himself. He had taken drug overdoses in May and July 2009.
For Fall 2012 designers are inspired by a wide range of influences, from the elaborate details of brocade and metallic gold embellishments to the dynamic mix of military chic and power pantsuits. Colo