Brilliantly British: The House of Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen began his career in fashion as an apprentice to a tailor on the famous Saville Row, one of the top fashion districts in the world. From there McQueen attended the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, which is one of the top fashion schools in London and the world. In 1995 McQueen sent his first collection down a runway and it came as a success in regards to the designs (Isabelle Blow, a former editor ofย British Vogue,ย bought the entire collection on the spot), but controversy over the title “Highland Rape” (the collection was a political statement about England’s takeover of Scotland centuries before). McQueen became no stranger to controversy with his collections, whether as creative director of Givenchy or his own fashion house, and never shied away from topics people desperately wanted to avoid (politics, heterosexual and homosexual relationships, divorce, domestic abuse, destruction of nature, death, and repentance through different religions). I personally fell for this company and fashion because of a red dress made of ostrich feathers and medical tape in his Spring/Summer 2001 collection, entitled “VOSS”. McQueen created many iconic looks– from the red dress I previously described to the 2010 armadillo shoes– and had a unique sense of marketing his collections (he teamed up with pop singer Lady Gaga, which had her wearing only his 2010 collection in her “Bad Romance” video). McQueen won the coveted British Designer of the Year Award four times and the CFDA Designer of the Year Award in 2003, making him one of the most accomplished designers in only a period of two decades. Then, on February 11, 2010, the fashion world was horrified to learn that McQueen had hung himself in his London flat (he killed himself a few days after the death of his mother, who died of breast cancer)– I actually broke down crying that day, and every February 11th I dress in mourning for my favorite designer. With McQueen gone, Sarah Burton took over the fashion house, and organized his last Paris runway, and has continued the company’s reputation for couture and artistic clothes that push the edge of what is expected from fashion. In two decades of fashion, McQueen has dressed top singers, actresses, and even a Princess (something very few other designers can say). McQueen transcended the world of fashion and entered the world of art (especially based on the exhibition the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute put together last Summer). No matter what, even with Lee Alexander McQueen gone, the Fashion House of Alexander McQueen has become iconic and made the creator immortal.

What do you think of the Fashion House of Alexander McQueen? Do you have a favorite collection or look from the designer?



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