Alexander McQueen

Last updated

Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen by FashionWirePress.jpg
McQueen at his Autumn 2009 collection
Lee Alexander McQueen

(1969-03-17)17 March 1969
Lewisham, London, England
Died11 February 2010(2010-02-11) (aged 40) [1]
Mayfair, London, England
Cause of death Asphyxiation due to suicide by hanging and overdose
Resting place Kilmuir, Skye
Education Central Saint Martins
Years active1992–2010
Alexander McQueen, McQ
Awards British Fashion Designer of the Year
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Council of Fashion Designers of America International Designer of the Year 2003

Lee Alexander McQueen, CBE (17 March 1969 – 11 February 2010) was a British fashion designer and couturier. [2] He worked as chief designer at Givenchy from 1996 to 2001, and founded his own fort Alexander McQueen label in 1992. [2] His achievements in fashion earned him four British Designer of the Year awards (1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003), as well as the CFDA's International Designer of the Year award in 2003. [2] McQueen died by suicide in 2010, at the age of 40, at his home in Mayfair, London.

Order of the British Empire British order of chivalry

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

Givenchy is a French luxury fashion and perfume house. It hosts the brand of haute couture clothing, accessories and Parfums Givenchy, perfumes and cosmetics. The house of Givenchy was founded in 1952 by designer Hubert de Givenchy and is a member of Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture et du Pret-a-Porter. It is owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH. Its current artistic director is Clare Waight Keller, who is the first woman to hold that position.

Alexander McQueen is a British luxury fashion house founded by designer Alexander McQueen in 1992. Its current creative director is Sarah Burton.


Early life

Born on 17 March 1969 in Lewisham, London, to Scottish [3] taxi driver Ronald [4] and social science teacher Joyce, McQueen was the youngest of six children. [5] [6] It was reported that he grew up in a council flat, [7] but, in fact, the McQueens moved to a terraced house in Stratford in his first year. [8]

Lewisham area in South East London

Lewisham is an area of south east London, England, 5.9 miles (9.5 km) south of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London. Lewisham had a population of 60,573 in 2011.

Hackney carriage car for hire

A hackney or hackney carriage is a carriage or car for hire. A hackney of a more expensive or high class was called a remise.

Terraced house style of medium-density housing that originated in Europe in the 16th century

In architecture and city planning, a terrace or terrace house (UK) or townhouse (US) is a form of medium-density housing that originated in Europe in the 16th century, whereby a row of attached dwellings share side walls. They are also known in some areas as row houses.

McQueen then attended Rokeby School and left aged 16 in 1985 with one O-level in art, [5] going on to complete a course in tailoring at Newham College and serve an apprenticeship with Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard, before joining Gieves & Hawkes and, later, the theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans. [9] The skills he learned as an apprentice on Savile Row helped earn him a reputation in the fashion world as an expert in creating an impeccably tailored look. [10] While serving his apprenticeship, McQueen attended the Rosetta Art Centre [11] led by Yvonne Humble, who also wrote his reference that saw him go straight on to the MA fashion course at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. [12]

Rokeby School is a community secondary school for boys, located in the Canning Town area of the London Borough of Newham, England.

GCE Ordinary Level subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education

The O Level is a subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education. It was introduced as part of British educational reform alongside the more in-depth and academically rigorous A-level in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Those three jurisdictions replaced O Levels gradually with General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exams over time. The Scottish equivalent was the O-grade. The O Level qualification is still awarded by CIE Cambridge International Examinations, the international counterpart of the British examination Board OCR, in select locations, instead of or alongside the International General Certificate of Secondary Education qualifications. Both CIE and OCR have Cambridge Assessment as their parent organisation. The Cambridge O Level has already been phased out, however, and is no longer available in certain administrative regions.

Savile Row street in Mayfair, London, England

Savile Row is a street in Mayfair, central London. Known principally for its traditional bespoke tailoring for men, the street has had a varied history that has included accommodating the headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society at 1 Savile Row, where significant British explorations to Africa and the South Pole were planned; and more recently, the Apple office of the Beatles at 3 Savile Row, where the band's final live performance was held on the roof of the building.

Because of the strength of his portfolio, Bobby Hillson, the Head of the Masters course at St Martins, encouraged McQueen to enroll as a student. [13] [14] He received his master's degree in fashion design and his 1992 graduation collection was bought in its entirety by influential fashion stylist Isabella Blow, who was said to have persuaded McQueen to become known as Alexander (his middle name) when he subsequently launched his fashion career. [6] Isabella Blow paved the way for Alexander McQueen using her unique style and contacts to help him. She was in many ways his mentor. It was during this period that McQueen relocated to Hoxton, which housed other new designers, including Hussein Chalayan and Pauric Sweeney. [15] It was shortly after creating his second collection,"McQueen's Theatre of Cruelty", that McQueen met Katy England, his soon to be "right hand woman", [16] when outside of a "high profile fashion show" trying to "blag her way in". [17] He promptly asked her to join him for his third collection, "The Birds" at Kings Cross, as "creative director". [17] Katy England continued to work with McQueen thereafter, greatly influencing his work – his "second opinion". [16]

Bobby Hillson is a London-based fashion illustrator, former designer of children's clothing, and founder of the Saint Martin's School of Art MA Fashion course.

Isabella Blow Magazine editor, stylist, actress, model

Isabella "Issie" Blow was an English magazine editor. The muse of hat designer Philip Treacy, she is credited with discovering the models Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl as well as the fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

Hoxton Neighbourhood in the East End of London, England

Hoxton is a district in North East London, part of the London Borough of Hackney, England. Together with the rest of Shoreditch, it is often described as part of the East End, the historic core of wider East London. It was historically in the county of Middlesex until 1889. It lies immediately north of the City of London financial district, and was once part of the Ancient Parish and subsequent Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch, prior to its incorporation into the London Borough of Hackney.

McQueen designed the wardrobe for David Bowie's tours in 1996-1997, as well as the Union Jack coat worn by Bowie on the cover of his 1997 album Earthling . Icelandic singer Björk sought McQueen's work for the cover of her album Homogenic in 1997. [18] McQueen also directed the music video for her song "Alarm Call" from the same album [19] and later contributed the iconic topless dress to her video for "Pagan Poetry". [20] McQueen also collaborated with dancer Sylvie Guillem, director Robert Lepage and choreographer Russell Maliphant, designing wardrobe for theater show "Eonnagata", directed by Robert Lepage. The film "Sylvie Guillem, on the edge" produced by French production company A DROITE DE LA LUNE, traces whole history of the creation of the show, from first rehearsals which took place in Quebec until world premiere which was held in 2008 at Sadler's Wells theatre in London.

David Bowie British musician, actor, record producer and arranger

David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie, was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million albums worldwide, made him one of the world's best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Union Jack National flag of the United Kingdom

The Union Jack, or Union Flag, is the national flag of the United Kingdom. The flag also has official status in Canada, by parliamentary resolution, where it is known as the Royal Union Flag. Additionally, it is used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas territories. The Union Flag also appears in the canton of the flags of several nations and territories that are former British possessions or dominions, as well as the state flag of Hawaii.

<i>Earthling</i> (album) 1997 studio album by David Bowie

Earthling is the 20th studio album by English recording artist David Bowie. It was originally released in February 1997 on Arista Records. The album showcases an electronica-influenced sound partly inspired by the industrial and drum and bass culture of the 1990s. It was the first album Bowie self-produced since his 1974 album Diamond Dogs.

Camilla Belle in a 2009 dress by Alexander McQueen, listed among "100 Best Dresses of the Decade" by InStyle magazine. Camilla Belle 2009.jpg
Camilla Belle in a 2009 dress by Alexander McQueen, listed among "100 Best Dresses of the Decade" by InStyle magazine.

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"), [4] with trousers aptly named "bumsters" and a collection titled "Highland Rape". [5] [22] [23] In 2004, journalist Caroline Evans also wrote of McQueen's "theatrical staging of cruelty", in 032c magazine, referring to his dark and tortured renderings of Scottish history. [24] McQueen was known for his lavish, unconventional runway shows: a recreation of a shipwreck for his spring 2003 collection; spring 2005's human chess game; and his autumn 2006 show "Widows of Culloden", which featured a life-sized hologram of supermodel Kate Moss dressed in yards of rippling fabric. [25]

<i>032c</i> magazine

032c magazine is a bi-annual, English-language contemporary culture magazine that covers art, fashion, and politics. It was founded in 2001 by Joerg Koch and is published in Berlin. It hosts exhibitions and events at its Workshop in the former brutalist church compound St. Agnes and produces a line of products under the moniker 032c Gear.

Kate Moss English model and businesswoman

Katherine Ann Moss is an English model and businesswoman. Born in Croydon, Greater London, she was discovered in 1988 at age 14 by Sarah Doukas, founder of Storm Model Management, at JFK Airport in New York City.

McQueen's "bumsters" spawned a trend in low rise jeans; on their debut they attracted many comments and debate. [10] Michael Oliveira-Salac, the director of Blow PR and a friend of McQueen's said, "The bumster for me is what defined McQueen." [10] McQueen also became known for using skulls in his designs. A scarf bearing the motif became a celebrity must-have and was copied around the world. [10]

McQueen has been credited with bringing drama and extravagance to the catwalk. [10] He used new technology and innovation to add a different twist to his shows and often shocked and surprised audiences. The silhouettes that he created have been credited for adding a sense of fantasy and rebellion to fashion. [10] McQueen became one of the first designers to use Indian models in London. [10]

Givenchy appointment

Upon arrival at Givenchy, McQueen insulted the founder by calling him "irrelevant". 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 designs at Givenchy, but continued to indulge his rebellious streak, causing controversy in autumn 1998 with a show which included double amputee model Aimee Mullins striding down the catwalk on intricately carved wooden legs. [23] This year also saw McQueen complete one of his most famous runway shows previewing Spring/Summer 1999, where a single model, Shalom Harlow, graced the runway in a strapless white dress, before being rotated slowly on a revolving section of the catwalk whilst being sprayed with paint by two robotic guns. [26] Givenchy designs released by Vogue Patterns during this period may be credited to the late designer. [27]

McQueen received press attention after the May 2007 suicide of international style icon Isabella Blow. Rumours were published that there was a rift between McQueen and Blow at the time of her death, focusing on McQueen's under-appreciation of Blow. [28] In response to these rumours, McQueen told an interviewer: [25]

It's so much bollocks. These people just don't know what they're talking about. They don't know me. They don't know my relationship with Isabella. It's complete bullshit. People can talk; you can ask her sisters ... That part of the industry, they should stay away from my life, or mine and Isabella's life. What I had with Isabella was completely dissociated from fashion, beyond fashion.


One of McQueen's most celebrated and dramatic catwalk shows was his 2001 Spring/Summer collection, named VOSS. The centre piece tableau that dominated the room was an enormous glass box. But because the room outside the box was lit and the inside of the box was unlit, the glass walls appeared as large mirrors, so that the seated audience saw only their own reflection. When the show began, lights came on inside the enormous glass case and revealed the interior to be filled with moths and, at the centre, a naked model on a chaise longue with her face obscured by a gas mask. The glass walls then fell away and smashed on the ground.

The model chosen by McQueen to be the centre of the show was the British writer Michelle Olley. (The show also featured Kate Moss and Erin O'Connor). McQueen said that the tableau was based on the Joel Peter Witkin image Sanitarium. [29] The British fashion photographer Nick Knight later said of the VOSS show on his blog:

"The girl in the box was Michelle Olley. She modelled for me in a story I did called Sister Honey... She was a writer and I remember she wrote a great piece on being the Butterfly Girl in the middle of that (McQueen) Glass Box show. I was sat on the front row, inbetween Alexandra Schulman and Gwyneth Paltrow. It was probably one of the best pieces of Fashion Theatre I have ever witnessed." [30]

Alexander McQueen later described his thoughts on the idea used during VOSS of forcing his audience to stare at their own reflection in the mirrored walls for over an hour:

"Ha! I was really pleased about that. I was looking at it on the monitor, everyone trying not to look at themselves. It was a great thing to do in the fashion industry—turn it back on them! God, I’ve had some freaky shows." [31]

In 2011, Michelle Olley was asked by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to contribute to their Alexander McQueen exhibition, Savage Beauty . [32] She was interviewed by The Met about VOSS for the audio guide to the show. Olley's detailed diary/journal of modelling for McQueen—written between 18–27 September as the show was being planned and staged—was included in the Met Museum website coverage of the Savage Beauty exhibition. [33] The VOSS diary relates details of the show and encounters with McQueen, ending with how Olley returned home after the show to find:

"...a MASSIVE bouquet of flowers has arrived, with a note [from McQueen] saying, "Thank you for everything – you were beautiful! – Lee xxx" [33]


Some of 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; [9] he was also appointed a CBE and named International Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers in 2003. [34]

December 2000 saw a new partnership for McQueen, with the Gucci Group's acquiring 51% of his company and McQueen's serving as Creative Director. [5] Plans for expansion included the opening of stores in London, Milan, and New York, and the launch of his perfumes Kingdom and, most recently, My Queen. In 2005, McQueen collaborated with Puma to create a special line of trainers for the shoe brand. [35] In 2006, he launched McQ, a younger, more renegade lower-priced line for men and women. [36]

McQueen became one of several designers to participate in MAC's promotion of cosmetic releases created by fashion designers. The collection was released on 11 October 2007 and reflected the looks used on the Autumn/Winter McQueen catwalk created by makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury. The inspiration for the collection was the 1963 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.


McQueen boutique in London (2013) London mcqueen 09.03.2013 12-43-18.jpg
McQueen boutique in London (2013)

By the end of 2007, Alexander McQueen had boutiques in London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan, and Las Vegas. Celebrity patrons, including Nicole Kidman, Penélope Cruz, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Rihanna, Monica Brown and J-pop queens, such as Ayumi Hamasaki, Namie Amuro, and Koda Kumi, have frequently been spotted wearing Alexander McQueen clothing to events. [37] Björk, Ayumi Hamasaki and Lady Gaga have often incorporated Alexander McQueen pieces in their music videos. [38]

Personal life

McQueen was openly gay and said he realized his sexual orientation when he was six years old. [39] He told his family when he was 18 and, after a rocky period, they accepted his sexuality. [5] He described coming out at a young age by saying, "I was sure of myself and my sexuality and I've got nothing to hide. I went straight from my mother's womb onto the gay parade". [40]

In 2000, McQueen had a marriage ceremony with his partner George Forsyth, a documentary filmmaker, on a yacht in Ibiza. [41] Kate Moss and Annabelle Neilson were bridesmaids. [42] The marriage was not official, as same-sex marriage in Spain was not legal at that time. The relationship ended a year later, with McQueen and Forsyth maintaining a close friendship. [43]

McQueen stated in an interview shortly before his death on his CBE in 2003: "...Why they gave me that, I don’t understand—because I wrote, ‘I am a c–t,’ on the queen’s son’s jacket!" [44]

McQueen was HIV positive. [45] [46] [47]

McQueen was an avid scuba diver and used his passion as a source of inspiration in his designs, including spring 2010's "Plato's Atlantis". Much of his diving was done around the Maldives. [48]

Death and memorial

McQueen's death was announced on the afternoon of 11 February 2010. In the morning, his housekeeper found him hanged at his home in Green Street, London W1. [49] Paramedics were called and they pronounced him dead at the scene. [1]

Lee Alexander McQueen Headstone, Kilmuir, Isle of Skye. Lee Alexander McQueen Headstone.png
Lee Alexander McQueen Headstone, Kilmuir, Isle of Skye.
Lee Alexander McQueen Headstone Back, Kilmuir, Isle of Skye Lee Alexander McQueen Headstone Back.png
Lee Alexander McQueen Headstone Back, Kilmuir, Isle of Skye

David LaChapelle, a friend of the designer, said that McQueen "was doing a lot of drugs and was very unhappy" at the time of his death. [50] McQueen's death came just days before London Fashion Week, although he was not scheduled to appear there. [51] Dr Stephen Pereira, McQueen's psychiatrist, said he had mixed anxiety and depressive disorder for at least three years and had twice taken drug overdoses as "cries for help". [52] Pereira also said that McQueen had repeatedly missed psychiatric sessions, adding that there had been "enormous difficulty in getting him to personally, physically come to appointments".

McQueen left a note saying, "Look after my dogs, sorry, I love you, Lee." [53] The Metropolitan Police stated that the note was not suspicious, but did not confirm that the death was a suicide. [54] On 17 February 2010, Westminster Coroner's Court was told that a post-mortem examination found that McQueen's death was due to asphyxiation and hanging. The inquest was adjourned until 28 April 2010, where McQueen's death was officially recorded as suicide. [55] [56] McQueen, who had been diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depressive disorder, took an overdose prior to hanging himself. He had taken drug overdoses in May and July 2009. [57] Coroner Dr Paul Knapman reported finding "a significant level of cocaine, sleeping pills, and tranquillizers in the blood samples taken after the designer's death." [58]

On behalf of Lee McQueen's family, Alexander McQueen [the company] today announces the tragic news that Lee McQueen, the founder and designer of the Alexander McQueen brand, has been found dead at his home. At this stage it is inappropriate to comment on this tragic news beyond saying that we are devastated and are sharing a sense of shock and grief with Lee's family. Lee's family has asked for privacy in order to come to terms with this terrible news and we hope the media will respect this.

Alexander McQueen Office, Official Website, 11 February 2010 [59]

On 3 February 2010, McQueen wrote on his Twitter page that his mother had died the day before, adding: "RIP mumxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx." Four days later, he wrote that he had had an "awful week" but said "friends have been great", adding: "now i have to some how pull myself together". [60] McQueen is survived by his father, three sisters, and two brothers. [61]

McQueen's funeral took place on 25 February 2010 at St. Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, West London. [62] His ashes were later scattered on the Isle of Skye at Kilmuir. [63] His Skye ancestry had been a strong influence in his life and work. [64] McQueen's Scottish heritage—his father was born and had ancestral roots in Skye—was evident in his life and work. Collections including Banshee (AW94-95) and Highland Rape (AW95-96) draw on both Celtic culture and dark periods of Scotland's history, notably the 18th-century suppression of Scotland's Highland clan system following the final defeat of the Jacobite rebellions. In asking for his remains to be interred in Kilmuir, looking over the sea in the north of Skye, Alexander McQueen has joined members of his clan going back over many generations.

A memorial was held for McQueen at St. Paul's Cathedral on 20 September 2010. It was attended by Björk, Kate Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomi Campbell, Stella McCartney, Lady Gaga and Anna Wintour [65] amongst 2,500 other invited guests. [66] On 18 February 2010, Robert Polet, the president and chief executive of the Gucci Group, announced that the Alexander McQueen business would carry on without its founder and creative director. [67]

The BBC reported that McQueen had reserved £50,000 of his wealth for his pet dogs so they could live in the lap of luxury for the rest of their lives. He also bequeathed £100,000 each to four charities; these include the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in South London, and the Blue Cross animal welfare charity in Burford, Oxfordshire. [68]


A dedication by a fan at an Alexander McQueen store after McQueen's death Alexander McQueen Shrine.jpg
A dedication by a fan at an Alexander McQueen store after McQueen's death

On 16 February 2010, pop musician and friend Lady Gaga performed an acoustic, jazz rendition of her hit single "Telephone" and segued into "Dance in the Dark" at the 2010 Brit Awards. During the performance, Gaga paid tribute to McQueen, by dedicating a song to him. [69] She also commemorated McQueen after accepting her award for Best International Artist, Best International Female, and Best International Album. Gaga dedicated a song to him, titled "Fashion of His Love", on the special edition of her third album, Born This Way . [70]

Björk, wearing a McQueen outfit, sang her rendition of "Gloomy Sunday" at the memorial at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Various other musicians, who were friends and collaborators with McQueen, commentated on his death, including Kanye West, Courtney Love, and Katy Perry. [71]

In March 2010, celebrities including Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Annabelle Neilson, among others, paid visual tribute to McQueen by wearing his distinctive 'manta' dresses. [72] The 'manta' dresses, inspired by a scuba-diving holiday McQueen took to the Maldives in 2009, [72] came from McQueen's 'Plato's Atlantis' collection of Spring-Summer 2010 which was at the time currently available to purchase. 'Manta' dresses had been worn by celebrities such as Daphne Guinness, Noot Seear, Anna Paquin, and Lily Cole prior to his death, and following the announcement that he had died, remaining stocks sold out despite prices starting at £2,800. [72]

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City hosted a posthumous exhibition of McQueen's work in 2011 titled Savage Beauty . The exhibition's elaborate staging includes unique architectural finishes and soundtracks for each room. [73] Despite being open for only three months, it was one of the most popular exhibitions in the museum's history. [74] The exhibition was so successful that Alexander McQueen fans and industry professionals worldwide began rallying at to "Please Make Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty a Traveling Exhibition" to bring honour to McQueen and see his vision become a reality: to share his work with the entire world. [75] The exhibition then appeared in London's Victoria & Albert Museum between 14 March and 2 August 2015. It sold over 480,000 tickets, making it the most popular show ever staged at that museum. [76]

In 2012, McQueen was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork—the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover—to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life that he most admires. [77] McQueen is also given homage in the popular MMO World of Warcraft . There is an NPC dedicated to Alexander McQueen that is a Tailoring Trainer named Alexandra McQueen. This trainer is also the only one on the horde side that gives a special quest Cloth Scavenging. [78]

In February 2015, on the fifth anniversary of McQueen's death, a new play based on the designer was unveiled. McQueen, written by James Phillips, is set over one night in London and follows a girl who breaks into the designer's home to steal a dress and is caught by McQueen. The production takes inspiration from his imaginative runway shows and will be directed by John Caird. It has been described by McQueen's sister Janet as 'true to his spirit'. [79] Stephen Wight and Dianna Agron played the leading roles.

Final runway presentation

Alexander McQueen's last appearance on a fashion show was in Plato's Atlantis, presented during Paris Fashion Week on 6 October 2009. This Spring/Summer 2010 collection was inspired by the post-human manifesto featuring 46 full looks.

The show began with a video of Raquel Zimmerman lying naked on sand with snakes on her body. McQueen installed two large cameras on the runway, both of which moved back and forth, documenting and broadcasting the entire show live on SHOWstudio. The inspiration for Plato's Atlantis was nature and the post-human movement depicted by sea-reptile prints. The fashion show and the collection addresses Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. as well as current global warming issues. The fantasy collection, named after Plato's island that sunk in the sea, envisaged a future where humans are forced to evolve from living on land to living in water in order to survive. The color scheme changed during the show from green and brown (land) to blue and acqua (ocean). The models exhibited an androgynous look (which represents McQueen's evolutionary themes), as well as possessing post-human characteristics. The prints shifted from reptilian to prints of water creatures such as jellyfish and stingrays. The collection's final silhouettes gave the models marine features while the McQueen's signature Armadillo shoe also transformed the appearance of the models' anatomic foot. Plato's Atlantis was yet another way in which McQueen fused fashion with technology.

Final show

At the time of Alexander McQueen's death, he had an eighty percent finished Autumn/Winter collection. 16 pieces of this collection were presented during Paris Fashion Week on 8 March 2010, to a select handful of fashion editors in a mirrored, gilded salon at the 18th-century Hôtel de Clermont-Tonnerre.

Fashion editors picked his final designs. Editors said the show was hard to watch because it showed how McQueen was obsessed with the afterlife. The clothes had a medieval and religious look. Basic colours that were repetitively used were red, gold and silver with detailed embroidery. His models were accessorised to show his love for theatrical imagery. "Each piece is unique, as was he", McQueen's fashion house said in a statement that was released with the collection.

After company owner Gucci confirmed that the brand would continue, McQueen's long-term assistant Sarah Burton was named as the new creative director of Alexander McQueen in May 2010. [80] In September 2010, Burton presented her first womenswear collection in Paris. [81]

In film

In 2016, it was announced that Jack O'Connell will play McQueen in an upcoming biographical film about his life. [82] In 2017, O'Connell said he was no longer attached to the project. [83]

On 8 June 2018 the documentary McQueen written and directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui was released in the UK. It was described by Harper's Bazaar as "among the most accurate, sensitive, and moving. Using his collections as cornerstones, the documentary features candid interviews with colleagues, friends and even family of McQueen, who was known as Lee to the people he loved." [84] The film was favourably reviewed, earning a score of 84 on the critical aggregator website Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim", [85] as well as a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a Critics Consensus reading, "McQueen offers an intimate, well-sourced, and overall moving look at a young life and brilliant career that were tragically cut short." [86]

Related Research Articles

Philip Anthony Treacy is an award–winning Irish haute couture milliner, or hat–designer, based in London, who has been described by Vogue magazine as "perhaps the greatest living milliner". In 2000, Treacy became the first milliner in 80 years to be invited to exhibit at the Paris haute couture shows. Treacy has been associated with some of the largest fashion houses and particularly Chanel and Givenchy, as well as celebrities such as Isabella Blow, Lady Gaga, Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker. More recently, Treacy has been associated with British royalty, and has designed hats for British special occasions.

Hubert de Givenchy French fashion designer

Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy was a French fashion designer who founded the house of Givenchy in 1952. He was famous for having designed much of the personal and professional wardrobe of Audrey Hepburn and clothing for Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. He was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1970. His partner was Philippe Venet.

John Charles Galliano is a Gibraltar-born British fashion designer who was the head designer of French fashion companies Givenchy, Christian Dior, and his own label John Galliano. At present, Galliano is the creative director of Paris-based fashion house Maison Margiela.

Jay McCarroll is a fashion designer who gained fame after winning the debut season of the competitive reality show Project Runway in 2005.

Julien Macdonald British fashion designer

Julien Macdonald OBE is a Welsh fashion designer who has appeared as judge on the television programme, Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model. In 2001, he was named "British Fashion Designer of the Year", and on 15 March 2001, was appointed as chief designer at Givenchy. His atelier is at Old Burlington Street, London.

Riccardo Tisci is an Italian fashion designer. He studied in Italy at the Design Istituto d’Arte Applicata in Cantù until the age of 17, and then graduated from London's Central Saint Martins Academy in 1999. In 2005, Tisci was given the title of creative director for Givenchy Women's haute couture and ready-to-wear lines. In May 2008 he was additionally named as menswear and accessories designer of the Givenchy men's division. In March 2018, it was announced he had been appointed chief creative officer of Burberry, succeeding Christopher Bailey.

Behati Prinsloo Namibian supermodel

Behati Prinsloo is a Namibian supermodel and activist. In 2008, she became a Pink contract model, and moved on to become a Victoria's Secret Angel in 2009. She has walked in nine consecutive Victoria's Secret Fashion Shows. She opened consecutive Victoria's Secret Fashion shows in 2014 and 2015.

Christopher Kane Scottish fashion designer

Christopher Kane is a Scottish fashion designer based in London whose brand is now part of Kering.

Giles Deacon British fashion designer

Giles Deacon is an English fashion designer, Creative Director and Founder of Giles Deacon group, Couture Fashion House. Deacon joined the Paris Couture schedule in 2016. Deacon has been known to challenge the traditional ideas of womenswear and often uses wild prints and pop culture references in his designs. Deacon was employed by the fashion houses Bottega Veneta and Gucci, before founding his own label, GILES, in 2003. He launched his first collection for GILES at the 2004 London Fashion Week and was named "Best New Designer" at the British Fashion Awards. Deacon's designs have been met with critical acclaim and have sparked a renewed interest in London fashion. Having become one of the fashion industry's most fêted figures, Deacon was named British Fashion Designer of the Year in 2006 and was awarded the French ANDAM Fashion Award's Grand Prix in 2009. The designer was appointed creative director of French fashion house Ungaro in April 2010. Deacon retained the position until September 2011, when he and Ungaro mutually decided to end their collaboration. Deacon launched his first haute couture collection in 2016.

Michelle Olley is a British writer, journalist and magazine and book editor.

Jade Parfitt is a British model and presenter. She was born in Hammersmith, London, England her family moved to Devonshire, Southern England when she was 14.

Jonathan Saunders is a Scottish fashion designer, known for his work with prints and use of traditional silk screening techniques. Celebrities who have worn his designs include Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Sienna Miller and Michelle Obama.

House of Flora

House Of Flora is an established British fashion label and design house founded by designer Flora McLean.

Sarah Jane Burton is an English fashion designer, currently creative director of fashion brand Alexander McQueen. She designed Catherine Middleton's wedding dress for her wedding to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in April 2011. In 2012, she was named in Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time.

<i>Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty</i> exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty was an art exhibition held in 2011 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art featuring clothing created by British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, as well as accessories created for his runway shows. The exhibit was extremely popular in New York City and resulted in what was then record attendance for the museum. The curators were Andrew Bolton and Harold Koda.

Sølve Sundsbø is a Norwegian fashion photographer based in London

Andrew Bolton is a British museum curator and current Head Curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York City. Born in Blackburn, Lancashire, UK, Bolton graduated from the University of East Anglia with a BA in Anthropology and an MA in Non-Western Art. In 2017, he was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art.

Shaun Leane (jeweller)

Shaun Leane is a British jewellery designer best known for his sculptural pieces created for Alexander McQueen. His eponymous jewellery brand is a four-time winner of the UK Jewellery Designer of the Year award.


  1. 1 2 "Alexander McQueen, UK fashion designer, found dead". BBC News. 11 February 2010. Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 "Biography: Sarah Burton". Archived from the original on 8 January 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  3. "Meeting the Queen was like falling in love". The Guardian. London. 20 April 2004. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  4. 1 2 "Alexander McQueen: fashion mourns the loss of its brilliant 'enfant terrible'". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Cartner-Morley, Jess (19 September 2005). "Boy done good". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  6. 1 2 "Obituary: Fashion king Alexander McQueen". BBC News. 11 February 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  7. Bremner, Charles; Robertson, David (12 February 2010). "Alexander McQueen Obituary". The Times. London. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  8. Frankel, Susannah (2011). Andrew Bolton (ed.). Alexander McQueen, savage beauty [Introduction] (3rd print. ed.). New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 17–27. ISBN   9781588394125 . Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  9. 1 2 Tran, Mark (11 February 2010). "Fashion designer Alexander McQueen dies". The Guardian . London. Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Vaidyanathan, Rajini (12 February 2010). "Six ways Alexander McQueen changed fashion". BBC News. Archived from the original on 22 February 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  11. "Our History | Rosetta Art Centre". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  12. "Alexander McQueen Trivia: 35 interesting facts about the fashion designer! | Useless Daily: The amazing facts, news & trivia free newsletter!". 14 July 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  13. Frankel, Susannah (24 September 2011). "Louise Wilson: 'As much as I might decry the students, as much as they're a nightmare, it is a privilege to be among youth'". The Independent. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  14. Cooper, Michelle. "Who's Who: Bobby Hillson". Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  15. Blow, Detmar (2010). Blow by Blow. NY: It Books. pp. 58–60. ISBN   978-0-06-202100-7.
  16. 1 2 Rickey, Melanie (28 February 1997). "England's glory". The Independent. London. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  17. 1 2 Bronte, Fabiana. "Losing 'Lee' – A Fashion Legend Bows Out". SteamPunk Magazine. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  18. "Björk:about:Homogenic:About the album cover". Chicago Sun-Times . 15 May 1998. Archived from the original on 26 March 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  19. "aLARM cALL". Archived from the original on 28 August 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  20. Alien Rock. "The Light of Love: The Making of the Pagan Poetry Video Archived 9 May 2005 at the Wayback Machine ". 2002.
  21. "Camilla Belle in Alexander McQueen, 2009", 100 Best Dresses of the Decade, InStyle Magazine, 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  22. Leonard, Tom (10 February 2005). "Ban for low trousers gains support". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  23. 1 2 Bremner, Charles; Robertson, David (11 February 2010). "Profile: Alexander McQueen, the 'hooligan' of English fashion". The Times. London. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  24. "Archived item". Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2010. Evans, Caroline, "Fashion: Alexander McQueen", 032c issue 7 (Summer, 2004).
  25. 1 2 Bridget Foley (June 2008). "Hail McQueen". W magazine. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
  26. London Fashion Review – Alexander McQueen Profile Alexander McQueen Timeline Profile (June 2011)
  27. PatternVault blog (11 July 2011) Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: Vogue Patterns, Part 1
  28. Horyn, Cathy (10 May 2007). "The Woman No Hat Could Tame". The New York Times.
  29. "DC's: Justin presents ... The Alexander McQueen Kit". 10 March 2010. Archived from the original on 19 December 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  30. "McQueen Spring/Summer 2001 Show". 24 March 2007. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  31. "Fashion Shows: Fashion Week, Runway, Designer Collections". Vogue. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  32. "About the Exhibition - Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty - The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York". Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  33. 1 2 Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alexander MqQueen show 'Savage Beauty': Michelle Olley 'VOSS' diary Archived 5 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  34. Barnett, Leisa (11 February 2010). "Alexander McQueen dies". Archived from the original on 16 February 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  35. "Alexander McQueen unveils his collection for Puma". RTÉ Fashion. 21 January 2009. Archived from the original on 14 February 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  36. Alexander, Ella. "Ferlisi For McQ" . Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  37. "Alexander McQueen Found Dead". People . Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  38. Lady Gaga dances in Alexander McQueen's 10-inch Stilettos Huffington Post, 11 November 2009
  39. "Alexander McQueen Biography". Archived from the original on 15 February 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  40. Vogue Magazine, August 2002
  41. Naughton, Philippe (11 February 2010). "British fashion designer Alexander McQueen found dead at home". The Times. London. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  42. Paton, Elizabeth (17 July 2018), "Annabelle Neilson, Muse of Alexander McQueen, Dies at 49", The New York Times
  43. Payne, Will (14 February 2010). "The crazy world of Alexander McQueen, by his ex-husband". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 19 February 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  44. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  45. "Alexander McQueen opened up about drugs hell that drove him to suicide". The Sun. 3 June 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  46. Cusumano, Katherine. "14 Revelations from the New Alexander McQueen Documentary". W Magazine. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  47. Team, Page Six (1 September 2014). "McQueen admitted he was HIV positive before suicide: book". Page Six. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  48. Alexander, Hilary (6 October 2009). "Paris Fashion Week: Alexander McQueen". The Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 29 January 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  49. Kates, Brian (17 February 2010). "Alexander McQueen hanged self in wardrobe, left suicide note". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on 20 February 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  50. "Alexander McQueen's mate David LaChapelle tells of their friendship". Herald Sun. 21 October 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  51. "Alexander McQueen Dead: Fashion Designer Commits Suicide". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  52. Jones, Sam (28 April 2010). "Alexander McQueen hanged himself after taking drugs". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  53. "Alexander McQueen committed suicide after taking drugs". BBC News. 28 April 2010.
  54. "Designer Alexander McQueen dies". BBC. 11 February 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  55. "Designer Alexander McQueen 'hanged himself'". BBC News . 17 February 2010. Archived from the original on 18 February 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  56. Barnett, Leisa (28 April 2010). "Alexander McQueen's psychiatrist admits that he felt "very pressured" as the inquest into his death concludes". Handbag. Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  57. "Alexander McQueen committed suicide after taking drugs". BBC News . 28 April 2010. Archived from the original on 1 May 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  58. Milligan, Lauren (28 April 2010). "McQueen Inquest Verdict". British Vogue. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  59. "Designer Alexander McQueen Dies". BBC News. 11 February 2010. Archived from the original on 27 February 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  60. "Designer Alexander McQueen Dies". BBC News. 11 February 2010. Archived from the original on 27 February 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  61. Moore, Booth (12 February 2010). "Alexander McQueen dies at 40; iconoclastic fashion designer". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
  62. "Alexander McQueen funeral: fashion world bids farewell to designer". The Daily Telegraph. London. 25 February 2010. Archived from the original on 28 February 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  63. "Alexander McQueen's ashes to be scattered on Isle of Skye". Evening Standard. London. 22 March 2010. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  64. "How Alexander McQueen's Skye ancestry shaped his fashion legacy". Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  65. Attewill, Fred (20 September 2010). "Fashion stars pack St. Paul's for Alexander McQueen memorial service". Metro UK. Archived from the original on 27 November 2010.
  66. "Memorial service at St. Paul's for Alexander McQueen". The Daily Telegraph. London. 31 August 2010. Archived from the original on 5 November 2010.
  67. Socha, Miles (18 February 2010). "McQueen Business to Continue Despite Founder's Suicide". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  68. "Mcqueen's Charity". BBC News. 26 July 2011.
  69. "Information Not Found". Billboard. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  70. "Lady Gaga confirms Alexander McQueen tribute". News hub. 6 October 2016.
  71. Michaels, Sean (12 February 2010). "Pop stars pay tribute to Alexander McQueen". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  72. 1 2 3 "Deep Sea Devotion: Alexander McQueen's 'Manta' Designs". The Daily Telegraph . London. 15 March 2010. Archived from the original on 22 March 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  73. Sherwood Pundyk, Anne (July – August 2011). "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty". The Brooklyn Rail.
  74. "McQueen Show Beats Jeff Koons's Record at the Met, Right at the Buzzer". ArtInfo (In the Air blog). Louise Blouin Media. Archived from the original on 9 August 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  75. "Petition For Alexander McQueen Exhibit To Tour Gains Momentum". Global Fashion Wire. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  76. "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Is Most Popular Show in V&A's History". The Guardian . London. Press Association. 3 August 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  77. "New faces on Sgt Pepper album cover for artist Peter Blake's 80th birthday". The Guardian. 5 October 2016.
  78. "Alexandra McQueen". Wowhead. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  79. "Alexander McQueen play to open in London". The Guardian . 12 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  80. Sarah Deeks (27 May 2010). "Burton For McQueen". Vogue. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  81. "Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2011 collection". Vogue. Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  82. "Jack O'Connell to star in Alexander McQueen biopic". BBC News. Retrieved 6 October 2016
  83. Woolton, Dan (5 September 2017). "Jack O'Connell exits upcoming biopic about designer Alexander McQueen". The Sun. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  84. Alexander, Ella (5 June 2018). "The Inside Story of the Must-See McQueen Documentary". Harper's Bazaar . Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  85. "McQueen: critics reviews". Metacritic . 10 June 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  86. McQueen , retrieved 31 July 2018

Further reading