Alexander McQueen (1969 ca) is an English designer. In 1997, before he was even thirty, he was appointed, not without some opposition, as artistic director of Givenchy, the French fashion house that dressed Audrey Hepburn, one of the most elegant women in the world.
This young and controversial talent, awarded the title Designer of the Year in 1996, has had a respectable career. At 16 Alexander McQueen decided to leave school and went knocking at the door of Anderson and Sheppard, tailors in Savile Row. Later he worked with the theatrical costume designers, Bermans and Nathan, gaining a good grounding in cutting methods. Afterwards he collaborated with the Japanese designer Koji Tatsuno and with the Italian Romeo Gigli.
He returned to London in 1992 to complete his training at Saint Martin’s College of Art. Here he presented the collection that paved his way to worldwide acclaim. The Birds, The Highland Rape, The Hunger, Dante are some of his most recent lines.
Alexander McQueen at Gucci Group
In 2001, McQueen became a designer at the Gucci Group, which acquires 51% of his own brand. Domenico De Sole, enthusiastic about the new acquisition, has great faith in the investment’s ability to compete with arch-rival LVMH.
McQueen’s “The Dance of The Twisted Bull” Collection
The same year, in October, at the Paris runway show, McQueen’s collection was based on Spain and two different aspects of the bullfight, with a female toreador dressed in a black, closely fitting outfit and a woman-bull dressed in blood-colored flounced clothing, pierced with a javelin.
2002, A Year of Success
In March 2002, a new line of men’s clothing is created in collaboration with H. Huntsman and Sons, a famous tailors founded in 1849, based at 11 Savile Row. For McQueen, it represents a return to his origins, as his career began in Savile Row. The bespoke collection unites the geniality and sensitivity of McQueen’s style and the handcrafted skills of one of the most classic tailors in London. Moreover, it is made up of 12 designs, requiring between 4 and 6 fittings and 5 months of work. In addition, the Collection is sold exclusively at McQueen’s boutiques.
The Opening of the First New York McQueen’s Boutique
2002, July. The English designer opened his first New York boutique, on West 14th Street. In October.
Part pirate daughter and filibuster queen, part youthful Amazonian: this is the woman sent down the Paris runway by McQueen. In the background, a giant digital screen (20×10 meters) projected images in keeping with the theme, and created by the designer with the director John Maybury. The music was by Earth, Wind and Fire. The show began with pirates wearing scrunched and ripped chiffon garments, blouses with puffed sleeves, tight pants tucked into high boots, small brocaded jackets. After a nocturne intermezzo and dimmed lighting, the scene turned to fifteenth-century England, with rich ruffs and ruched jackets, black Counter-Reformation silhouettes, pierced python skin and embroidered ivory silk. The final section took up the colors of the tropics, 26 bright hues, green, orange, turquoise, blue, chiffon and rainbow-colored organza, flame-colored feathers everywhere, fitted, gold jackets, and tight skirts printed with brilliant rays like a burning sun.
McQueen Lends in the Cosmetics World
2003, January. At the British Museum before a select group of journalists, the designer presented his first perfume, Kingdom. The launch of a line of cosmetics was announced for September.
2003, March. The prêt-à-porter Fall-Winter 2003 collection was presented on the Paris runways. It was inspired by Tibet, Russia, and the Orient, with suggestions of the Kamasutra. The show ended with the presentation of a one-off piece, a kimono with an embroidery of a man being seduced by ten women; it was worn open by a semi-naked model wearing only briefs and laced sandals.
2003, March. The designer (34) opened a new own-brand store in London at 4-5 Old Bond Street.
Queen Elizabeth II Rewards Alexander McQueen
2003, June. The designer was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II, for his “important contribution to the excellence of English fashion.” Receiving the same award immediately before him were Sting, Anish Kapoor and Dave Gilmour, the guitarist from Pink Floyd.
Alexander McQueen wins The Fashion Design Award
2003, June. At a ceremony held at the New York Public Library, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) gave out prizes to the best American and non-American designers of 2003. From more than 450 designers, the Fashion Design Award for the best international designer was given to Alexander McQueen. His predecessor in 2002 was Hedi Slimane.
The Opening of the First McQueen’s Store in Italy
2003, July. Alexander McQueen opened his first own-brand store in Italy, at 8 Via Verri, Milan. The store was previously occupied by Yves Saint Laurent, who moved into Via Montenapoleone, in the former-Gucci space.
2004, June. The designer debuted in Milan with his first menswear collection. Actually, it is the second, because the first was presented the previous season but without great publicity. His tailoring experience, acquired on Savile Row, is immediately apparent; the designs succeed in combining the transgressive streak that has made him famous with his bespoke tailoring skills.
Alexander McQueen X Puma
2005, May. From Spring-Summer 2005/6 the collection of sports shoes made by Puma in collaboration with McQueen was made available across the world. The collection was presented in September 2004 at women’s fashion week in London.