The brightest stars wear out quickly, and this natural law seems to fit perfectly into the history and career of Alexander McQueen, the famous British designer . A life that ended too early, at just 41 years old. A tragedy that has shocked the world of fashion and beyond. And despite his young age, McQueen already had a spectacular career behind him, which initially didn’t even seem possible. Because McQueen came from an environment very far from that of fashion. Yet perhaps this very long apprenticeship of his, his knowledge of the “real” world made him credible and unique in his work. The story of this designer and the story of a dream that comes true with stubbornness of those who want to emerge from the darkness, shocking those present with their collections and with their real shows on the catwalk.
Alexander McQueen, terrible boy
Lee Alexander McQueen was born in Lewisham, near London, on March 17, 1969 . His family is of modest origins, with his father who is a simple taxi driver. Alexander in turn decides to drop out of school at the age of 16 to enter the world of work immediately. In fact, he engages in various jobs, one of which will however take him to the theater: he becomes assistant to the costume designers at Berman & Nathans and is behind the scenes, with them, that he learns the art of creating clothes. He then moved to Italy, in Milan, where his path to glory begins. After the Italian experience with Romeo Gigli , he decides to return to his London to finish his studies. Immediately afterjoins the Givenchy team , where he remains from 1996 to 2001. These are years of maturation for the young Alexander, which will allow him to rise to the status of a world-famous designer .
And that’s how at this point in his life, McQueen launched himself into the world of world fashion style with his maison that bears his name.
Maturity and success for McQueen
Free to create his own clothes, McQueen unleashes his imagination and does so mainly by provoking and seeking a strong reaction. His design is made to strike, scandalize, as well as his fashion shows. He sends a legless girl on the catwalk, enhancing her artificial prostheses, relies on special effects, robots that spray paint on clothes and other electronic gimmicks to make their mark during his fashion shows and even after. He is thus called “the hooligan of fashion”, precisely because, like the excited English fans, he brings havoc. But it is a confusion that affects only metaphorically and gives rise to a new style.
The style of the McQueen “hooligan” is often devoted to the gothic, to the obscure, to gloomy, sometimes explicit, references to death . As if already foreshadowing his destiny, he transmits an anxiety with his biting fashion which, however, becomes a quality brand in clothes. Young people love it, older colleagues fear it.
It collaborates with the most important fashion houses in the world , both in high fashion and sports style. In fact, the collaboration with brands such as Gucci or Puma should be noted.
McQueen thus won the coveted British Designer of the Year award four times from 1996 to 2003, as well as that of Designer of the Year , awarded by the Fashion Designer Awards, when 2003 runs.
A success which, however, perhaps hides a certain anxiety, which the boy tries to channel positively through his work. The death of his colleague and close friend, Isabella Blow in 2007, upsets him. And unfortunately he will follow the same end a few years later.
Alexander McQueen’s death and legacy
Surrounded by often tormented characters, Alexander is no longer able to face the dark periods of his own life and make his star shine. And so after the death of his mother, following that of his friend-stylist Blow, Alexander McQueen commits suicide. In fact, he was found hanged in his house on 11 February 2010 . He tragically leaves one of the best British designers ever.
To this tragedy Lady Gaga dedicates the song ” Fashion Of His Love” to him , because she is very impressed by the gesture of her friend, but in general there are many who are shocked by the extreme gesture of the boy.
With McQueen he does not leave, too soon, only an exceptional guy but also a fashion name that could still give a lot. The school of this designer has however formed other excellent brands, such as that of Sarah Burton who has collected the inheritance of her company Di lui. Thanks to her, for example, the wedding dress for tennis player Serena Williams was created, which went down in history as one of the most expensive ever (over 3 million euros of fantasy and extravagance).
Posthumous to his death, in 2018 the documentary dedicated to the designer entitled “Alexander McQueen – The genius of fashion” , directed by Ian Bonhote and Peter Ettedguisu, was released and can be seen on Netflix.
Our post dedicated to the British designer Alexander McQueen ends here. See you next time with the insights dedicated to famous stylists, by our portal.