October 26, 2023 · Beauty Treatment

By Crystal Robertson

The fashion world lost one of its treasures when Alexander McQueen, four-time British Fashion Designer of the Year awardee, passed away last February 11 at the age of 40. His artistry had drawn much attention because of its boldness and attitude that defied what is commonly acceptable in fashion circles.

The youngest of six broods, Alexander McQueen was born on March 16, 1969 in London East End. The son of a taxi driver, McQueen stopped going to school at an early age of 16 and decided to work at Savile Row when he found out that there were only a few apprentices in traditional tailoring. He first trained at Anderson and Sheppard and later moved to Gieves and Hawkes before working with theater costumiers Berman and Nathan. McQueen got to hone his skill at Savile Row which he credited for his precision in creating form fitting clothes.

When McQueen was twenty, he applied and worked with Japanese designer Koji Tatsuno who made clothes from antique materials. Afterwards, he was taken in by Italian designer Romeo Gigli who was quick to notice his inclination towards designs that are too far-out and unconventional. He then went back to London to take his MA at Central St. Martin’s College. The clothing collections he did as a student at Central St. Martin’s were bought by magazine editor and fashion enthusiast, Isabella Blow who was his erstwhile benefactor until her death in 2007.

After earning his MA at Central St. Martin’s, he established his own brand and label in London. It was his ‘bumster’ pants that instantly gave brand recognition to his label. The ‘bumster’ became controversial because the low waistband exposed a lot of flesh around the hips and buttocks area. In time, however, the ‘bumsters’ gained acceptance around fashion circles.

McQueen recalled that he already knew he was gay at the age of six but kept it from his family until he was eighteen. He got hitched in 2000 with his documentary film maker boyfriend George Forsyth who was six years his junior in a yacht owned by a friend of celebrity Kate Moss. The union lasted for some years until they separated in 2007.

When McQueen was 26 he was recruited to work as chief designer of Givenchy for which he succeeded another designer John Galliano. His stint at Givenchy was highly successful but he left eventually because he felt his creativity was greatly hampered by the more conventional style of Givenchy. After Givenchy, he struck a deal with another label company Gucci which bought 51 percent of his very own label company. With this new deal he was able to expand his company and build ten new McQueen stores including one in Paris.

His popularity was inevitable. His fashion shows were often on the headlines for being so gaudy and elaborate. People lined up for his shows and tickets were always sold out. He turned each and every fashion show he had into a grand production that was extravagant and theatrical in every way. One memorable show he had, used a holographic image of Kate Moss which was shown on the catwalk. He also had a model placed inside a casing with butterflies in it. In another show he set the catwalk in flames in what appeared as a volcanic eruption. Such was how he made a name in the fashion world along with his outstanding tailoring skills and unique and outlandish clothing collections.

About the Author: Crystal Robertson is a fashion graduate and shopping addict that has been a fan of Alexander McQueen for many years. To find out more about

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