Lee Alexander McQueen (Alexander McQueen for short) was born on March 17, 1969 in Lewisham, London. He died on February 11, 2010 in Mayfair, London. His mother Joyce McQueen was a social science teacher and his dad Ronald was a Scottish taxi driver. Out of six children, McQueen was the youngest. McQueen attended Carpenters Road Primary School. He began making dresses for his younger sisters at a young age. He then realized he wanted to become a fashion designer. McQueen later attended Rokeby School, which he left in 1985 at the age of 16. He was offered an apprenticeship at Saville Row tailors Anderson and Shepherd and then offered an apprenticeship at Gieves and Hawkes, both masters in the technical construction of clothing. From there he moved to Angels and Bermans where he mastered six methods of pattern cutting from the melodramatic 16th Century to the brutally sharp tailoring which has become a McQueen signature. By the age of 20, He was employed by the designer Koji Tatsuno, who also had his roots in British tailoring. A year later McQueen traveled to Milan where he was employed as Romeo Gigli’s design assistant. When McQueen returned to London, he completed a Masters degree in fashion design at Central Saint Martin’s. He showed his MA collection in 1992, which was famously bought in its entirety by Isabella Blow. In less than 10 years McQueen became one of the most well respected fashion designers in the world. In October 1996 McQueen was appointed as Chief Designer at the French Haute Couture House Givenchy where he worked until March of 2001. Alexander McQueen’s collections are known for both the emotional power and raw energy of his shows as well as the romantic but determinedly contemporary nature of his clothes. It is typical of McQueen to use the nearness between contrasting elements; fragility and strength, tradition and modernity and fluidity and severity. An openly emotional and even passionate viewpoint is realized with a profound respect and influence for the arts and crafts tradition. Alexander McQueen’s collections combine in-depth working knowledge of British tailoring, the fine workmanship of the French Haute Couture and the impeccable finish of Italian manufacturing. Alexander McQueen’s collections for Givenchy have included golden eagles embroidered by Lesage, rose petals pressed into sheer organdie, pure gold material woven for a bolero jacket, feathers painstakingly layered like a bird’s wing onto a cat suit and other unique weird styles. He has managed to continue to design in his funky, youthful modern manner at his own house of McQueen while also producing the elegant, expensive, beautiful creations at Givenchy.
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