From a council house in the East End, Alexander McQueen rose to be an anarchic icon. Born in 1969, he started off in Savile Row, where his clients included Prince Charles and Mikhail Gorbachev. A stint with Romeo Gigli in Milan was followed by the Masters course at St. Martin’s College of Art and a job with Givenchy. His career was launched by influential fashion stylist Isabella Blow and he was badly affected by her suicide in May 2007.
His early runway collections established his reputation as an avant garde rebel. He designed the trousers called “bumsters” and did a collection called Highland Rape. He specialised in outrageous, androgynous clothes that were skilfully and impeccably tailored. His lavish, unconventional runway shows included the recreation of a shipwreck and a human chess game. He won the British Designer of the Year title four times and by 2007, had boutiques all over the world.
In spite of the in your face aggression of his fashion style, at heart he was deeply sensitive. His inner circle was disappearing. After the death of Isabella Blow, his aunt, a stalwart supporter, also passed away. Then his partner ended their relationship and returned to Australia.
Openly gay from an early age, and unable to compromise over anything, McQueen met the pain of life in the hardest way you possibly can – head on. His adored mother died in February 2010, and for the brilliant revolutionary, that might have been one blow too many.