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Author: Conaill O’Dwyer


Alexander McQueen “L’enfant terrible”

5 Nov

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Lee Alexander McQueen, CBE (17 March 1969 – 11 February 2010) was a British fashion designer and couturier. He is known for having worked as chief designer at Givenchy from 1996 to 2001 and for founding his own Alexander McQueen label. His fashion achievements earned him four British Designer of the Year awards.

In 1985, aged 16, McQueen left school with one O-level in art, going on to serve an apprenticeship with Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard, before joining Gieves & Hawkes.The skills he learned as an apprentice on Savile Row helped earn him a reputation in the fashion world as an expert in creating an impeccably tailored look.

McQueen’s early runway collections developed his reputation for controversy and shock tactics earning the title “l’enfant terrible” and “the hooligan of English fashion”. McQueen was known for his lavish, unconventional runway shows.

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McQueen has been credited with bringing drama and extravagance to the catwalk. McQueen was an avid scuba diver and used his passion as a source of inspiration in his designs, including spring 2010’s “Plato’s Atlantis”. Much of his diving was done around the Maldives.
He used new technology and innovation to add a different twist to his shows and often shocked and surprised audiences. The silhouettes that he created have been credited for adding a sense of fantasy and rebellion to fashion. The president of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, caused a stir when he appointed McQueen head designer at Givenchy in 1996.McQueen stayed with Givenchy until March 2001, when the contract he said was “constraining his creativity” ended.


December 2000 saw a new partnership for McQueen, with the Gucci Group’s acquiring 51% of his company and McQueen’s serving as Creative Director. Plans for expansion included the opening of stores in London, Milan, and New York.In 2006, he launched McQ, a younger, more renegade lower-priced line for men and women.By the end of 2007, Alexander McQueen had boutiques in London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan, and Las Vegas. Celebrity patrons, including Nicole Kidman, Penélope Cruz, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Rihanna.

McQueens was at the height of his fame, when the world was shocked to hear of the designers sudden death.The designers death was announced on the afternoon of 11 February 2010.He had died nine days after the death of his mother, Joyce, 75,who had died from cancer.McQueen’s funeral took place on 25 February 2010 at St. Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, West London.His ashes were later scattered on the Isle of Skye.A memorial was held for McQueen at St. Paul’s Cathedral on 20 September 2010.


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