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Alexander McQueen

Fashion Designer

Born: 17 March 1969
Died: 11 February 2010 (suicide by hanging)
Birthplace: London, England
Best known as:

The avant-garde fashion designer who killed himself in 2010

Name at birth: Lee Alexander McQueen

 

Theatrical, radical, and talented, Alexander McQueen was perhaps Britain's most famous young designer when he killed himself in 2010 at age 40. McQueen quit school at age 16 and began training as a tailor on Savile Row. He worked in England and Italy before earning a masters degree in fashion design at Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design in 1992. Next came a rocket-like ride up the fashion ranks, fueled by his avant-garde fashion shows -- sometimes held in bus stations or empty buildings, with amputee models and other shocking touches. (As the BBC put it, "His close-cropped hair, Doc Martens and feisty attitude earned him the label 'the hooligan of English fashion.'") He became chief designer at the famed French house Givenchy in 1996, and was named British Designer of the year in 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2003. He left Givenchy in 2001 and became creative director of his own Alexander McQueen label at Gucci, where he remained for the rest of his life. He was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003. McQueen hanged himself in 2010 at his home in the Mayfair district of London, apparently despondent over love troubles and the death from cancer of his mother earlier in the same month.

Extra credit:

Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen's longtime assistant, took over as director of his fashion house after his death. She designed Kate Middleton's wedding dress for her 2011 marriage to Prince William... Alexander McQueen killed himself the day before his mother's funeral... He was the youngest of six children; his father Ronald was a taxi driver... He entered into a civil partnership with filmmaker George Forsyth in 2001, with the model Kate Moss as the bridesmaid. The couple broke up shortly afterward.

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