France has Jean-Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen and England. Dubbed the “enfant terrible of fashion,” the one and the other constantly jostle conventions and diktats, to take us where they want. And it is with pleasure that we follow the track of Mr. McQueen.
Childhood Alexander already has a sulfur taste: born in 1969 in the East End, he shows little interest in education, and is the despair of his teachers. Youngest of six children, he prefers to draw dresses for his sisters. At 16, he left school and was apprenticed at Anderson and Sheppard, tailors of Savile Row. This experience is a revelation to him, and already its provocative nature is expressed: by making a suit for Prince Charles, he sewed in the lining: “I’m act…,” which could mean by: “I am act…”.
He learns the ancient techniques of cutting in the theater costume Angel & Bermans, then moved to Milan to work for Koji Tatsuno stylist. It will then tracer patterns at Romeo Gigli.
Back in London, McQueen joined the Central Saint Martin’s School, where he graduated in 1992. His year-end collection, “Jack the Ripper” subjugates journalists and the microcosm of fashion, especially Isabella Blow, who buy it in full. It must be said that the McQueen style could not go unnoticed, as his cuts are brutal, and style, incisive.
The turning point in the life of our creator is in 1996: this year, while it has only 26, he was awarded the prize of the British Designer of the Year, an award he also won 3 more times later … This distinction puts the light on, and attracts the curiosity of the house of Haute Couture Givenchy.
Thus he takes the artistic direction of it, succeeding John Galliano. But the collaboration is disastrous: the provocative brutality McQueen does not find its place in the world of Givenchy, and his first collection for the brand will be a fiasco. Himself confided to Vogue in 1997 found that the “crappy” …
This experience, however, allows it to be known, and the Gucci group noticed the talent of the young designer. It offers him the funding to launch its own brand, what the creator accepts with pleasure the same time leaving Givenchy. McQueen label, ready-to-wear, thus born in 2000 and Alexander can finally express his tumultuous creativity.
Unsurprisingly, his style appears sharp and full of contrasts. In his first experiments, he found the perfect garment construction, the attention to detail and finishes. However, if his cuts are precise and neat, they are not any less rebellious. The toilets are found moving or disturbing, romantic or dark, and often combine tradition and modernity. The stylist did not hesitate, for example, to combine leather and lace, or make the corset dress with a futuristic interpretation.
The collections are linked, and each is different from the previous one: McQueen likes to develop each time a strong theme, thus avoiding repetition. Thus it presents us sexy and mischievous schoolgirls in 2002 and pirates shipwrecked in 2003…
Gradually, with the support of Gucci, McQueen grows and diversifies: in July 2002, he launched a line Men: “A way”, and that same year saw the opening of the first eponymous boutique in New York. This was followed in 2003 of flagship stores in London, Milan and Los Angeles. With this conquest of the world, the creator launches in 2005 a line of bags and shoes, and 2006 saw the birth of ‘McQ? Alexander McQueen’ line of ready-to-wear and accessories, the designer describes as “less sophisticated, younger, sharper.”
McQueen has now conquered the fashion world, and a lot about him. Indeed, he understood that fashion is a big theater in which it is better to provoke violent reactions than polite applause, and that’s why he cares for his shows into real shows, staged drawing a strong theme in unusual places such as the Cirque d’Hiver or the Zenith. Nothing is going too far to speak of the brand, as the stylist was proved in 1994 by scrolling Aimee Mullins, supermodel lost two legs.
But the brand also developed its reputation by collaborating with many brands and designers such as Philip Treacy hat, or the jeweler ShaunLeane. In 2007, McQueen joins Samsonite to create a line of luggage and leather goods Prestige and reiterates experience with Puma in 2009, giving birth to the first Sport Fashion clothing line.
Now McQueen has more evidence to give of his talent, and although it remains controversial, the brand is now known around the world for its creativity, boldness and originality.
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