Since his first appearance in the fashion industry during the early 1990's, Lee Alexander McQueen has established himself as a man with a captivatingly surreal vision, who created his own world of bizarre, yet powerfully alluring images that defined his artistic path. From the very origin of his eponymous label, McQueen carefully orchestrated his brainchild to the extent, where often the most subtle detail played a vastly important part. Many of his shows were much like a theatrical play, where models were not only presenting an exquisite garment collection, but also executing a perfectly arranged performance.

Being the youngest of the six children, the designer grew up in Stratford. After deciding to drop out of the community school at the age of 16, the future couturier completed a course in tailoring at Newham College, ensuingly becoming an apprentice in several Saville Row's made-to-measure shops, which helped him acquire the majority of his tailoring skills. Shortly afterward McQueen enrolled in the MA fashion course at Central Saint Martins and graduated in 1992, presenting his thesis collection titled "Jack The Ripper Stalks His Victims" inspired by the Whitechapel murders, which occurred in London's East End — the same district McQueen spent much of his childhood in. All garments shown were bought by Isabella Blow, who since then became McQueen's long-time mentor and muse. She persuaded him to choose his middle name for the label as it sounded more stately and helped him launch his career using her connections and the unparalleled sense of style that influenced McQueen's work greatly.

Soon after completing his eighth collection, Alexander McQueen was invited to take the post of Givenchy's creative director. Although his first collection for the French house was not as successful as it could have been, his later shows gave new life to the famous label as he combined tradition with his signature rebellious spirit, thus masterfully helping Givenchy walk into the futuristic era of Y2K.

Another strong suit of Alexander McQueen was designing unique garments for artists, which often aided them in achieving the desired image for album artwork, a music video or even a stage appearance. Apart from David Bowie, for whom the British designer created the famous Union Jack coat, McQueen was a friend and frequent collaborator of the Reykjavík-born singer Björk. He produced the kimono dress, in which she appeared on the cover of her prominent 1997 "Homogenic" record, alongside a dress for the "Alarm Call" music video — a single from the album. Many years later, following the designer's shocking departure, the Icelandic singer recorded a tribute track to honor his memory.

After the designer's 18-years-long career that started from his graduation show in 1992 and tragically ended with him passing away in 2010, the British couturier left a legacy of beauty, bold designs and unconquered campaigns that put McQueen in the principal place of modern fashion's history. His controversial approach often led to shock, surprise, and intrigue igniting inside the viewer simultaneously, while it questioned the boundaries of clothing design and pushed the industry forward. Alexander McQueen is what describes contemporary fashion best and is precisely how it will be remembered

Written by Ivan Khoklov


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