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Friday, February 12, 2010

Alexander Mcqueen: The History........The Legend


Who he was?
Born in the East End of London, the son of a taxi driver, McQueen started making dresses for his three sisters at a young age and announced his intention of becoming a fashion designer. He said that one of his earliest memories was from around the age of 3 when he drew a picture of a dress on a piece of bare wall which had been exposed by peeling wallpaper in the council house where his family lived. McQueen jokingly called it his first design sketch.


McQueen left Rokeby School at 16, landing himself an apprenticeship with Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard, then working for Gieves & Hawkes and the famous theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans. Whilst on Savile Row, McQueen's clients included Mikhail Gorbachev and Charles, Prince of Wales. At the age of 20, he spent a period of time working for Koji Tatsuno before travelling to Milan, Italy and working for Romeo Gigli.

McQueen returned to London in 1994 and applied to London's most prestigious fashion school, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design to work as a pattern cutter tutor. Due to the strength of his portfolio he was persuaded by the Head of the Masters course to enrol on the course as a student. He received his Masters degree in Fashion design and famously, his graduation collection was bought in its entirety by influential fashion stylist Isabella Blow, who was said to have persuaded McQueen to change his name from Lee to Alexander (his middle name) when he subsequently launched his fashion career.

Alexander 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"), with trousers aptly named "bumsters", and a collection entitled "Highland Rape". McQueen was known for his lavish, unconventional runway shows, such as a recreation of a shipwreck for his spring 2003 collection, spring 2005’s human chess game and his fall 2006 show, Widows of Culloden, which featured a life-sized hologram of supermodel Kate Moss, dressed in yards of rippling fabric.

The president of LVMH, Bernard Arnault caused a stir when he instated McQueen as head designer at Givenchy in 1996, succeeding John Galliano. Upon arrival at Givenchy, McQueen insulted the founder by calling him ‘irrelevant’. Thus, his first couture collection with Givenchy was unsuccessful, with even McQueen telling Vogue in October 1997 that the collection was “crap”. McQueen toned down his act at Givenchy, but continued to indulge his rebellious streak, causing controversy in Autumn 1998 with a show which included car-robots spraying paint over white cotton dresses, and double amputee model Aimee Mullins striding down the catwalk on intricately carved wooden legs. McQueen stayed with Givenchy until March 2001, when the contract he said was "constraining his creativity" was ended.

Some of Alexander McQueen's accomplishments included being one of the youngest designers to achieve the title "British Designer of the Year", which he won four times between 1996 and 2003. He was also awarded the CBE, as well as being named International Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designer Awards. December 2000 saw a new partnership for McQueen with Gucci Group acquiring 51% of the company, and McQueen serving as Creative Director. Plans for expansion included the opening of stores in London, Milan, and New York, and the launch of his perfumes Kingdom, and more recently My Queen. In 2005, McQueen collaborated with Puma to create a special line of trainers for the shoe brand.

McQueen became the first designer to participate in MAC's newest promotion: cosmetic releases created by fashion designers. The collection, McQueen, was released on 11 October 2007 and reflects the looks used on the Autumn/Winter McQueen catwalk. The inspiration for the collection was the Elizabeth Taylor movie Cleopatra, and thus the models sported intense blue, green, and teal eyes with strong black liner extended Egyptian-style. McQueen handpicked the makeup.

By the end of 2007, Alexander McQueen had boutiques in New York, London, Los Angeles, Milan, and Las Vegas. Icelandic singer Björk sought McQueen's work for the cover of her album Homogenic in 1997. Grammy winning trend setter Rihanna is one of the many famous celebrities that frequently wears Alexander McQueen, often seen wearing the pieces of clothing to events. Another is Lady GaGa, whose unique style often incorporates Alexander McQueen pieces in her music videos. As of 14 July 2008, the Alexander McQueen internet store has launched on the company website, allowing shoppers to purchase ready-to-wear and accessories online.





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