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Alexander McQueen was a London-based, English fashion designer who was head designer of the Louis Vuitton Givenchy fashion line, before starting his own line.
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A short biography on designer Alexander McQueen who left school at 16 to apprentice for Savile Row. After a battle with drug addiction and the death of his mother, he committed suicide in February 2010.
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Alexander McQueen was born on March 17, 1969, in Lewisham, London. He became head designer of the Louis Vuitton-owned Givenchy fashion line and, in 2004, launched his own menswear line. He earned the British Fashion Council's British Designer of the Year award four times, and was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire. McQueen commit suicide in 2010, shortly after the death of his mother.
Fashion designer. Lee Alexander McQueen was born on March 17, 1969 into a working-class family living in public housing in London's Lewisham district. His father, Ronald, was a cab driver, and his mother, Joyce, taught social science. On their small incomes, they supported McQueen and his five siblings. McQueen, called "Lee" by his friends for most of his life, recognized his homosexuality at an early age and was teased extensively about it by schoolmates.
At age 16, McQueen dropped out of school. He found work on Savile Row, a street in London's Mayfair district famous for offering made-to-order men's suits. He worked first with the tailor shop Anderson and Shephard, and then moved to nearby Gieves and Hawkes.
McQueen decided to further his clothes-making career, and moved on from Savile Row. McQueen began working with theatrical costume designers Angels and Bermans. The dramatic style of the clothing he made there would become a signature of his later independent design work. McQueen then left London for a short stint in Milan, where he worked as a design assistant to Italian fashion designer Romeo Gigli. Upon his return to London, he enrolled at Central Saint Martin's College of Art & Design, and received his M.A. in fashion design in 1992. The collection he produced as the culminating project of his degree was inspired by Jack the Ripper, and was famously bought in its entirety by the well-known London stylist and eccentric Isabella Blow. She became a long-time friend of McQueen, as well as an advocate for his work.
Soon after obtaining his degree, Alexander McQueen started his own business designing clothes for women. He met enormous success with the introduction of his "bumster" pants, so named because of their extremely low-cut waistline. Only four years out of design school, McQueen was named Chief Designer of Louis Vuitton-owned Givenchy, a French haute couture fashion house. Although it was a prestigious job, McQueen took it reluctantly, and his tenure there (from 1996 to 2001) was a tumultuous time in the designer's life. Even as he was pushing the limits of what people expected from fashion (one of his shows featured a model who was an amputee walking the runway on carved wooden legs), McQueen felt he was being held back. He would later say that the job "constrain[ed] his creativity." However, he also made the following admission: "I treated Givenchy badly. It was just money to me. But there was nothing I could do: the only way it would have worked would have been if they had allowed me to change the whole concept of the house, to give it a new identity, and they never wanted me to do that." Even with his reservations about his work, McQueen won British Designer of the year in 1996, 1997, and 2001, all during his time at Givenchy.
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In the 1990s, London's artists and cultural tastemakers embraced their British roots. Pop acts like Oasis, Elastica and the Spice Girls dominated 90's music, and reinforced British pride with symbolic use of the Union Flag—Oasis member Noel Gallagher famously used a Union Jack guitar while "Ginger Spice" Geri Halliwell wore the symbol on her trademark, flashy dress. The period was also marked by influential designers like John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, whose unique designs established numerous fashion trends for the decade. Biography.com celebrates these prominent figures, and the many others who led the way for "Cool Britannia."
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Each day, we put on clothes that do more than just cover up bodies. We choose clothes that represent our personalities, our moods, the times we live in, our ambitions and our desires. Who are the people behind the designs we wear every day? These fashion designers who have made fashion a huge industry, and whose work is as controversial, and as influential, as traditional art. These are some of the designers who have dressed the world's most famous people—and are hugely famous in their own right.
Famous Fashion Designers 62 people in this group