Alexander McQueen - one of the modern genius of the fashion world was found dead early in the morning on 11 February 2010 at his London home. The great designer committed a suicide, he hanged himself nine days after the death of his adored mother Joyce. Insiders say that McQueen was devastated after his mother’s death. McQueen’s death came just days before the start of London fashion week and less than three weeks before the great designer was about to present his latest collection at the Paris fashion week.
Alexander McQueen was born in 1969, the youngest of six children, to an East End taxi driver, and left school at 16, describing himself as the “pink sheep” of the family – an outsider, though much loved. He took an apprenticeship at Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard and later at Gieves & Hawkes, where, he later admitted, he once chalked “I am a cunt” inside the lining of a suit destined for the Prince of Wales.
By 20 he was working for the designer Koji Tatsuno, later moving to Milan where he became Romeo Gigli’s design assistant, before enrolling at Central St Martins.
Even then, his tutors marked him out as an extraordinary talent, and his entire graduate collection in 1994 was bought by the influential stylist Isabella Blow, who became a close friend and mentor. McQueen was said to be devastated when she killed herself in 2007.
His early shows were shocking, but hugely influential – one, entitled Highland Rape, included sharply tailored tartan silhouettes and his now notorious “bumster” trousers, cut so low they revealed the crack of the buttocks.
In 1996 McQueen was appointed chief designer at Givenchy in Paris, provoking controversy among the French fashion establishment. The stint ended abruptly in 2001 after he sold 51% of his own name label, which he had continued to show in London, to Givenchy’s rivals at Gucci Group.
The designer, who was gay and described himself as “naturally monogamous”, had a non-legally binding marriage ceremony to George Forsyth, a documentary filmmaker, in 2000, but the relationship ended shortly afterwords.
By the end of 2007, Alexander McQueen had boutiques in London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan, and Las Vegas. He dressed celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Penélope Cruz, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Moss and Rihanna frequently wear Alexander McQueen clothing out to events. Lady Gaga often incorporates Alexander McQueen pieces in her music videos.
Alexander Mcqueen has won the British Fashion Designer of the Year award four times.
The fashion world has lost one of its genius.