Tuesday, November 21st
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"I use things that people want to hide in their heads. War, religion, sex: things we all think about but don't bring to the forefront. But I do: I force them to watch it."
Rebellious and hard edged designer, Alexander McQueen, started in the fashion industry as a teenager. Born on March 17th 1969 in London, McQueen dropped out of school at sixteen to apprentice for Savile Row tailors ‘Anderson and Shephard’ and ‘Gieves and Hawkes’. After some time he moved on to theatrical costumers, ‘Angels and Bermans’, where he mastered different methods of pattern cutting from 16th century to sharp tailoring, which would become his signature trait. By twenty years old McQueen was working for designer Koji Tatsuno but after only a year made the move to Milan, becoming design assistant to Romeo Giglis. After four years, McQueen went back to London to enroll in the masters program at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design. Style icon and magazine editor Isabella Blow purchased his entire degree collection, thus the launch of the “Alexander McQueen’ label.
In October of 1996, Alexander McQueen started as chief designer for the French haute couture house Givenchy, all the while continuing on as creative director for his own label. After five prosperous years, in March 2001 McQueen left Givenchy to focus on the expansion of his company thanks to his partnership with the Gucci Group, who now attains a large percentage of the label. McQueen soon started producing fragrances and eyewear, along with opening flagship stores in New York, Las Vegas, London, Milan and Los Angeles. To this day the ‘Alexander McQueen’ label can be found in specialty and high end department stores in over 39 countries around the world. By 2004 McQueen introduced his first menswear collection to much success; being honored by the British Fashion Council with the British ‘Menswear Designer of the Year Award’. Early 2006 brought about the creation of ‘McQ’ the denim centric men’s and women’s ready-to-wear clothing and accessories line. He has since partnered with sportswear company Puma to design a footwear line, Samsonite to design a luxury travel collection under the name ‘SBL by Alexander McQueen’, and was announced as the first designer for Target’s new series, Designer Collaborations.
McQueen has received various awards including British designer of the Year (1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003), CFDA’s International Designer of the Year (2003), Fashion Directors Award (2007), GQ’s Menswear Designer of the Year (2007), and was honored with 'A Most Excellent Commander of The British Empire' by her Majesty the Queen (2003).