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Life and Times of Alexander McQueen

The industry is left reeling after the 40-year-old’s suicide coming just days after the death of his beloved mother, Joyce and 3 years since his close friend, style guru Isabella Blow  killed herself.

McQueen was christened Lee but used his middle name as a designer. One of his lines, McQ, was due to be shown at New York Fashion Week the same afternoon. He was CBE and four time winner of the British Designer of the Year award.’

His mother had interviewed him for a newspaper in 2004 and asked him: ‘What is your most terrifying fear?’, to which he replied: ‘Dying before you.’ She said: ‘Thank you, son.’

Born in the East End and the son of a taxi driver, McQueen started as an apprentice at in Savile Row at the age of 16, where he made suits for Prince Charles.

He was first discovered as a designer in the 90s by Isabella Blow, the style guru and fashion director of Tatler, who killed herself in 2007 after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

She bought all the clothes he made for his graduate show for £5,000. They were delivered to her in black binliners.
With his ultra-short hair and Doc Marten boots and his penchant for shock tactics in his early catwalk shows, he was initially the ‘enfant terrible’ of the fashion world. He was made head designer at Givenchy in 1996, succeeding John Galliano. He later joined forces with Gucci, who bought 51 per cent of his company.

He was British designer of the year four times between 1996 and 2003 and the International Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designer Awards. He received a CBE in 2003.

Openly gay, McQueen once described himself as the ‘pink sheep of the family’. He once said: ‘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.’

He married film-maker George Forsyth in 2000 on a yacht owned by the prince of Gambia in Ibiza. Kate Moss was a bridesmaid.
But, according to an interview with the New York Times last February, he was single again and had started seeing a porn star
He left school at 16 and went to work at Savile Row’s Anderson & Sheppard, whose clients included Prince Charles and Mikhail Gorbachev, after he saw a television program about the apprentice shortage in traditional tailoring.
He went on to work for Gieves & Hawkes, theatre’s famous Angels & Bermans costumiers, and then worked in Japan and Italy.

He returned to London in 1994, hoping to work as a pattern cutter tutor at London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins fashion school. He was persuaded to enrol in the course himself.
After graduating McQueen set up his own label based in the East End of London and it was then that he was spotted by Blow.

Victoria Beckham, who is frequently photographed wearing McQueen designs, said: ‘McQueen was a master of fashion, creative genius and an inspiration.

‘Today the fashion industry has lost a true great. An icon of all time. He made all he touched beautiful and will be desperately missed”


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