R.I.P. Alexander McQueen: Remembering The Designer's Legacy

R.I.P. Alexander McQueen: Remembering The Designer's Legacy


Brilliant and beloved British designer Alexander McQueen was found dead in his London home this morning. He was only 40. Raised in London's working-class East End neighborhood, McQueen was the son of a taxi driver and left school at 16 to pursue a career in fashion. The scrappy youth honed his tailoring chops along the "golden mile of tailoring" at London's tony Savile Row and throughout his always magnificent and sometimes outrageous seasons (crushed beetle and human hair outfits anyone?), even his most ardent detractors couldn't deny that dude could sew.

The man was a visionary and it is with a heavy heart that we mourn his loss and in remembrance of his legacy, Complex presents what you should know about the man born Lee Alexander McQueen and just a few highlights of his most memorable hits...

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The Beginning
• Born in 1969 in East London, upon completing apprenticeships at Savile Row's bespoke menswear tailors Anderson & Sheppard and Gieves & Hawkes, McQueen decided in 1990 to return to school for an MA at Central Saint Martins college. He was accepted on the strength of his portfolio despite having dropped out of high school. His final collection was so promising that it garnered a gang of international press coverage and a juggernaut was born.

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Couturier
• In 1996, McQueen replaced John Galliano at Givenchy and was awarded British Designer of the Year. His appointment at the venerable couture house was met with some resistance as it was the same year that McQueen (in keeping with his wicked sense of humor), introduced "the bumster"—pants slung so low as to reveal butt cleavage. It introduced a crack epidemic of an entirely different breed.

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McQueen is Everywhere
• Upon leaving Givenchy on less than pleasant terms, McQueen lands his own eponymous (namesake) line funded by the Gucci Group. In 2005, McQueen unveils a collaboration with Puma to include both men's and women's footwear and sportswear. A collaboration with luggage-maker Samsonite (pictured) is subsequently announced. And McQ, a new line with a substantially lower price-point is released in 2008.

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Another Kind of Avatar
• For his fall 2006 collection entitled "Widows of Caledon," McQueen shows a life-sized hologram of a fluttering, be-frocked Kate Moss to the typically unflappable fashion glitterati. They collectively lose their minds.

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Lady GaGa x McQueen
• Lady GaGa, a longtime McQueen fan, wears head-to-hoof McQueen in her "Bad Romance" video tottering around in his lobster claw alien shoes and wearing 1.4583 bajillion kilograms of a fabric that appears fashioned entirely out of shiny thumbtacks.

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Our thoughts and prayers go out to McQueen's friends and family. We take some solace in the fact that he is now with his mentor and muse, the late Isabella Blow.

Tags: alexander-mcqueen, obituaries, r-i-p
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