Alexander McQueen--sometimes called "the hooligan of fashion"--swiftly moved from a humble background as the son of a cab driver to become a fashion emperor after formal training at Central St. Martin’s, business experience on Saville Row, and the mentorship of Isabella Blow. Although his suicide sadly cut his life short, he had a remarkable career: head designer at Givenchy for five years, founding his own brands Alexander McQueen and McQ, and winning many awards, including British Designer of the Year four times and the CFDA’s Best International Designer.
McQueen’s said of his aesthetic that he went “from heaven to hell and back again. Life is a funny thing. Beauty can come from the strangest of places, even the most disgusting places.” He demonstrated this in the presentation of his collections. A pirate-theme dominated the S/S 2003 collection, and the next year he created a human chess game in which models were dressed as the pieces. McQueen’s most famous stunt was during the 2006 F/W “Windows of Culloden” show, with a hologram of Kate Moss dripping in ripped fabric at the center of the catwalk.
The designer's death came at the peak of his career. In my opinion, McQueen’s last women’s ready-to-wear collection was the most brilliant and cohesive yet. I was lucky enough to work with these pieces in a hands-on environment during my internship at KCD last semester. Everyone who came across the collection was dazzled by the futuristic fabrics and architecture. According to Style.com, the collection was inspired by McQueen’s thought that “Humankind is made up of creatures that evolved from the sea, and we may be heading back to an underwater future as the ice cap dissolves.” The collection represented a metamorphosis alluding to ocean creatures, reptiles and aliens, including grotesque, claw-like ten-inch tall shoes worn during the presentation. Every year, McQueen created fascinating new worlds, a more versatile and changeable talent than perhaps any other designer. One constant was that he always created a lavish and fascinating performance.