Lee Alexander McQueen CBE (17 March 1969 – 11 February 2010) was a British fashion designer and couturier. He founded his own Alexander McQueen label in 1992, and was chief designer at Givenchy from 1996 to 2001. His achievements in fashion earned him four British Designer of the Year awards (1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003), as well as the CFDA’s International Designer of the Year award in 2003.
McQueen had a background in tailoring before he studied fashion and embarked on a career as a designer. His MA graduation collection caught the attention of Isabella Blow, who became his patron. McQueen’s early works gained him recognition as an enfant terrible in British fashion, receiving coverage with designs such as the “bumster” trousers. He became head designer for Givenchy, and in 1999 he formed a partnership with Gucci. A number of his boutiques were established in cities around the world, and his label was expanded to include perfume, fashion accessories and a line of trainers. McQueen’s catwalk shows were noted for their drama and theatricality, and he was known for his finely-tailored clothes as well as imaginative and sometimes controversial designs. Among his best-known designs are the skull scarf and armadillo shoes.
McQueen died from suicide in 2010 at the age of 40, at his home in Mayfair, London, shortly after the death of his mother.
Did you Know?
McQueen’s work was admired for its highly original blend of subversion and tradition, evident from the outset in his ‘Bumster’ trousers, sharp frock coats, corroded fabrics, slashed leather and shredded, flesh-revealing lace. You’ve got to know the rules to break them.