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Alexander McQueen

Date of birth : 1969-03-17
Date of death : 2010-02-11
Birthplace : Lewisham, London, England
Nationality : British
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-03-14

Lee Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer and couturier best known for his in-depth knowledge of bespoke British tailoring, his tendency to juxtapose female strength and sensuality with fragility in his collections, as well as the emotional power and raw energy of his provocative fashion shows. He is also known for having worked as chief designer at the French Haute Couture House Givenchy and for founding his own label under the name Alexander McQueen.

Alexander McQueen was born in London on March 17, 1969, the youngest of six children. His father, Ronald, worked as a London cabdriver, while his mother, Joyce, was a social science teacher.

Aware of his homosexuality at an early age—he said he knew at age eight—he was frequently taunted by other children, who called him ''McQueer.'' School was difficult in other ways as well; as a young boy, he knew he wanted to work in fashion and had a hard time focusing on academics. He left school at 16, and landed an apprenticeship on Savile Row working for the tailors Anderson & Sheppard and then Gieves & Hawkes.

McQueen returned to school during this time and, in 1992, he completed his studies at Central Saint Martin's College of Art & Design. The same year he finished his degree, he started his own women's wear business. Four years later, he was hired to be the head designer of the Louis Vuitton-owned Givenchy fashion line. His time at Givenchy was troubled, and in 2000 he sold his stake of the company to the rival Gucci Group. McQueen stayed with Givenchy until March 2001, when his contract finally ended.

In 2004, McQueen launched his own menswear line, and the secondary line McQ in 2006. Soon, McQueen's lines became a favorite of celebrities such as Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rihanna, and he had boutiques in New York, London, Milan, Las Vegas and on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

In addition to earning big fans, McQueen received a lot of critical acclaim. He earned the British Fashion Council's British Designer of the Year award four times, and he was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire, among other honors.

Tragedy struck McQueen February 2, 2010, when his mother died. About a week later, On February 11, 2010, McQueen was found dead in his home. The coroner's report determined that his death was a suicide. His mother's funeral was held the day after McQueen died.

McQueen is survived by his father, Ron, and five siblings, Janet McQueen, Tracey Chapman, Jacqui McQueen, Tony McQueen and Michael McQueen.

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.

Alexander McQueen delivered collections that were often described in superlatives: "I didn't plan out my life like that," he said. "When people recognise and respect what you do, that's nice, but I don't think you ever do this to be famous. Fame should be left to the film stars. We're just offering a service."


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