Fashion History Fridays: Alexander McQueen

Because everyone has heard the name, but not everyone knows the person. (I guess you can say that about every designer). This week goes to:

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Alexander McQueen
March 17, 1969 – February 11, 2010
Born in Lewisham, London, United Kingdom

“Lee” Alexander McQueen was born into a working-class family. He lived with his dad, a cab driver, his mom, a teacher, and his four siblings.

McQueen never finished school. At 16 he dropped out and found a job on a street famous for offering customized men’s suits. He worked for different tailor shops there until he decided to further his career and started working in theatrical costumes. (This becomes a big mark that is later shown in his independent work). He later left to Milan to work for designer Romeo Gigli, and when he got back to London he enrolled in school and received M.A. in fashion design in 1992.

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Shortly after he graduated is when he set off to become a womens fashion designer. His first hit, “bumster” pants (in the picture above, named because of their extremely low-cut waistline) was pretty much the introduction of McQueen into the fashion industry – it’s like saying it was his first big hit that made him the designer we all came to know.

McQueen was named Chief Designer of Louis Vuitton-owned Givenchy. Although we’d all say “we made it” if we got this position, McQueen never seem thrilled about it, but he worked there from 1996 to 2001. Alexander pushed way beyond everyones expectation while being the artist of Givenchy. An example? In 1998 one of his shows featured a model who was an amputee walking the runway on carved wooden legs – but still McQueen felt he was being held back. However, he also admitted the following:

“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.”

In 2000, Gucci bought a 51 percent stake in Alexander McQueen’s private company, which provided McQueen the resources to expand his business. McQueen left Givenchy shortly thereafter. He opened stores in New York, Milan, London, Las Vegas and Los Angeles while winning numerous awards and recognition for his work.He became popular for his over the top shows. Example? An exquisite almost heavenly hologram of model Kate Moss floated at the showing of his 2006 Fall/Winter line.

In regards to his persona, McQueen never left his roots. He wore the same middle-class clothes and took comfort in himself that he wasn’t going to be like any other successful designer.

Unfortunately his downfall came in 2010, where he killed himself the day before his mother funeral. Evidence shows a trail of depressing tweets, comments, and behavior the designer showed after his mothers death on February 2nd, 2010.

Longtime co-designer Sarah Burton took over the still-operating Alexander McQueen brand, however McQueen will never be forgotten. He will always be remembered for his bold creations, his strong and confident persona, and his admirable climb from a drop out to one of the most recognized and honors designers on Earth.

Take a look at McQueens last runway show before he passed:

 

I really encourage you to look up his shows. McQueen was SO creative and out of the box. Very traditional but still used modern things to make his shows come alive. So many things I’d like to show you, but, I would never stop.


 

In current news, Sarah Burton in my opinion has done a fantastic job holding up the McQueen brand and representing exactly what he made it to be. Take a look at my favorite looks from this seasons Alexander McQueen shows:

Autumn/Winter 2014: Pre Ready-to-Wear

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Autumn/Winter 2014: Ready-to-Wear

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Autumn/Winter 2014: “McQ” Ready-to-Wear

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Autumn/Winter 2014: Menswear

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Take a look at some Christian Dior looks worn by celebrities! Click on the picture to open the gallery so you can see which celebrity wore it 🙂

 

 

Shop McQueen: http://www.alexandermcqueen.com/us/alexandermcqueen

& for the more affordable versions (still not so very affordable): http://www.fwrd.com/fw/Category.jsp?d=Womens&search=alexander+mcqueen

 

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