Alexander ( The Great ) McQueen

By:Erionna Jones

Where it all began?

Fashion designer. Lee Alexander McQueen was born on March 17, 1969 into a working-class family living in public housing in London's Lewisham district. His father, Ronald, was a cab driver, and his mother, Joyce, taught social science. On their small incomes, they supported McQueen and his five siblings. McQueen, called "Lee" by his friends for most of his life, recognized his homosexuality at an early age and was teased extensively about it by schoolmates.

At age 16, McQueen dropped out of school

Influenced by a Mastermind

Soon after obtaining his degree, Alexander McQueen started his own business designing clothes for women. He met enormous success with the introduction of his "bumster" pants, so named because of their extremely low-cut waistline. Only four years out of design school, McQueen was named Chief Designer of Louis Vuitton-owned Givenchy, a French haute couture fashion house. Although it was a prestigious job, McQueen took it reluctantly, and his tenure there (from 1996 to 2001) was a tumultuous time in the designer's life. Even as he was pushing the limits of what people expected from fashion (one of his shows featured a model who was an amputee walking the runway on carved wooden legs), McQueen felt he was being held back. He would later say that the job "constrain[ed] his creativity." However, he also made the following admission: "I treated Givenchy badly. It was just money to me. But there was nothing I could do: the only way it would have worked would have been if they had allowed me to change the whole concept of the house, to give it a new identity, and they never wanted me to do that." Even with his reservations about his work, McQueen won British Designer of the year in 1996, 1997, and 2001, all during his time at Givenchy.

Defining controversy

In 2001 McQueen again made the headlines with the controversial move of selling a 51 percent share of his label to the rival Gucci Group. Their financial backing and insightful decision to encourage rather than suppress McQueen’s talents made the label an international brand.

McQuen drew notice with his fashion that made feminity collide with masculinity gowns and dresses that created a continuing dichotomy between life and death, lightnesss and darkness,predator and prey, man and machine.His use of fabric and elements nott usually considered wearable resulted in very bizarre and at the same time hauntigly beautiful creations that, placed on mannequins, could be considered sculptures.

Nine days after the death of his adored mother, Alexander McQueen's body was found in his Mayfair home yesterday morning, following his apparent suicide.Industry insiders said McQueen, 40, had been devastated when his mother, Joyce, died on 2 February. Messages on his Twitter feed in recent days hinted at the extent of his loss. The day after her death, he posted an emotional message: "I'm letting my followers know my mother passed away yesterday if it she had not me nor would you RIP mumxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx..."

McQueen's death came just days before the start of London fashion week, and less than three weeks before the designer, who was creative director of the Gucci group, was due to present his latest eponymous collection at Paris fashion week.

Tributes were paid yesterday to a man who won designer of the year four times, and who managed the rare feat of remaining avant garde while achieving widespread commercial success. Alexandra Shulman, editor of British Vogue, called him a "modern-day genius". She said: "McQueen influenced a whole generation of designers. His brilliant imagination knew no bounds as he conjured up collection after collection of extraordinary designs. At one level he was a master of the fantastic, creating astounding fashions shows that mixed design, technology and performance and on another he was a modern-day genius whose gothic aesthetic was adopted by women the world over."

Long live McQueen

I think there is beauty in everything , what "normal" people percieve as ugly.I can usually see something of beauty in it.

"McQueen influenced a whole generation of designers. His brilliant imagination knew no bounds as he conjured up collection after collection of extraordinary designs," said Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue.

"He changed the way so many of us see shows."

Forever Admired

McQueen now has several biographies and fashion illustrated books after him.In a recent Marie Claire magazine this season's Project Runway designer's asked who is there favorite designer of all time and 12 out of 14 named the great ......McQueen. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Beyonce Rihanna , and even First Lady Michelle Obama are seen wearing the artist extravagant designs.Alexander "Lee" Mcqueen will be forever known for his provacative art, he will live in fashion possible longer than Dior ...longer then Chanel, longer then Louis Vuitton and even longer the YSL not because he is regal, classical, or upperclass but because he is provacative,odd and edgy.The upcoming generations fashion sense will be influenced by the late Great without even knowing it. McQueen was the absolute defininton of a artistic genius his artwork will be forever admired.......long live McQueen
FT: McQueen on the Business Continuing Without Him