Alexander McQueen Tales of a Chimerical World

Alexander McQueen was born in London in 1969. He made fashion history during the 90’s and 00’s with dramatic shows and edgy silhouettes that were deemed provocative, romantic and decadent, both fragile and powerful. Avant-Garde was his middle name. 

Quitting school at age 16, he started training alongside the most renowned Saville Row tailors. 

In 1992, he graduated from Central Saint Martins with a show named « Jack The Ripper Stalks His Victims ».  In the audience, fashion critic Isabella Blow was so swayed off her feet, she bought the entire collection, thus becoming his first sponsor, launching his career. She remained his close friend throughout his life.

 In 1996 McQueen was appointed artistic director for Givenchy, taking over for Galliano. Despite the critic's tepid reception to his first collection, he received the British Designer of the Year Award, which he won three more times over the course of his lifetime. 

In 2000, he launched his own label, and left Givenchy the following year. His VOSS (or “The Asylum”) show for Spring/Summer 2002 featured models entrapped in a glass asylum, and become the first in a series of iconic shows. From “The Girl Who Lived in the Tree” in the Fall/Winter 08 to “Horn of Plenty” for Fall/Winter 09, to his last show, Spring/Summer 10 “Plato’s Atlantis”, the McQueen shows repeatedly assailed their audience with intense, conflicting emotions, always intriguing, if not downright amazing. 

In 2010, after his tragic and fatal gesture, his right-hand woman of fourteen years, Sarah Burton, became the House’s artistic director. 

She shortly after designed Kate Middleton’s royal wedding gown and, like McQueen in his own time, won “Designer of the Year” at the British Fashion Awards. The following year, she was also honored by the Order of the British Empire for her contribution to British fashion. 

The Fall/Winter 2017 collection seems to draw from the same pagan inspirations as its predecessor, adapting them to a wintery wardrobe in contrasting colors – black and white with touches of vibrant red, gold and silver. The designer infuses her historical imagery into puffed sleeves and lengthy dresses covering the model’s body from neck to ankles. Prints have a gipsy feel, embroideries are almost mystical, with threads showing and dresses all laced up.