Born Lee Alexander McQueen (who knew?!) on March 17th, 1969, this native Londoner traded in his school uniform at the age of 16 to work as an apprentice for the Savile Row Tailors Anderson and Shephard. From there he worked with Gieves and Hawkes, another tailoring company, thus fostering his mastery in garment construction that has been so evident in his creations.
To further to his repertoire of expertise, McQueen went on to grasp several methods of pattern cutting from his work with Angels and Bermans, theatrical costumiers famous for their work in everything from 1920’s Madame Tussauds to musicals across the decades to 2008 Oscar Nominated films. After working for fellow British designer Koji Tatsuno at age 20, McQueen took his work abroad to Milan where he served as Romeo Gigli’s design assistant before returning to his hometown to earn his Masters in Fashion Design from Central Saint Martin’s.
His big break:
Not only was his entire Masters collection bought up by Isabella Blow (who inspired him to go by “Alexander”) upon his graduation, but he was offered to succeed John Galliano’s position at Givenchy just 4 years later– soon becoming the label’s head designer until 2001. He left the French Couturier and returned home once more to found his own line, eventually selling 51% of his company to the Gucci Group while remaining the Creative Director.
low-slung “bumster” pants, skull prints, super sharp tailoring, and theatrical runways
How to walk in his shoes:
Once you know what you want in life, why wait? Education is always important, so don’t take McQueen’s example as a reason to drop out of school right here and now. But by being bold, focused, and passionate about your goals will get you far no matter where you are in life presently– school, post-grad, post-several jobs, wherever.
Unfortunately, the end of his career came with his death in 2010. And while the world will never know what innovations and genius McQueen would have brought to the table in years to come, his mark on the history of the fashion industry is a permanent one that nonetheless serves to shape the future of garment design.
Since his passing, Sarah Burton has held the position of Creative Director for Alexander McQueen. Click here to see the F/W 2013-2014 Collection.