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48 facts about Alexander McQueen

Some of McQueen's accomplishments included being one of the youngest designers to achieve the title "British Designer of the Year", which he won four times between 1996 and 2003.

1. His full name was Lee Alexander McQueen, CBE.

2. He was a British fashion designer and couturier.

3. He is known for having worked as chief designer at Givenchy from 1996 to 2001 and for founding his own Alexander McQueen label.

4. His achievements in fashion earned him four British Designer of the Year awards (1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003).

5. Became the CFDA's International Designer of the Year award in 2003.

6. McQueen committed suicide in 2010 at the age of forty.

7. Was born on 17 March 1969 in Lewisham, London.

8. His parents are Scottish taxi driver Ronald and social science teacher Joyce, McQueen.

9. Was the youngest of six children.

10. He attended Carpenters Road Primary School, started making dresses for his three sisters at a young age, and announced his intention to become a fashion designer.

11. McQueen later attended Rokeby School and left aged 16 in 1985 with one O-level in art, going on to serve an apprenticeship with Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard, before joining Gieves & Hawkes and, later, the theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans.

12. While serving his apprenticeship, McQueen attended the Rosetta Studio Workshops led by Yvonne Humble.

13. The skills he learned as an apprentice on Savile Row helped earn him a reputation in the fashion world as an expert in creating an impeccably tailored look.

14. While on Savile Row, McQueen's clients included Mikhail Gorbachev and Prince Charles.

15. At the age of 20, he spent a period of time working for Koji Tatsuno before travelling to Milan, Italy and working for Romeo Gigli.

16. McQueen applied to Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, to work as a pattern cutter tutor. Because of the strength of his portfolio he was persuaded by Bobby Hillson, the Head of the Masters course, to enroll in the course as a student. He received his master's degree in fashion design and his 1992 graduation collection was bought in its entirety by influential fashion stylist Isabella Blow, who was said to have persuaded McQueen to become known as Alexander (his middle name) when he subsequently launched his fashion career.

17. It was shortly after creating his second collection,"McQueen's Theatre of Cruelty", that McQueen met Katy England, his soon to be "right hand woman", when outside of a "high profile fashion show" trying to "blag her way in".

18. He promptly asked Katy England to join him for his third collection, "The Birds" at Kings Cross, as "creative director". Katy England continued to work with McQueen thereafter, greatly influencing his work - his "second opinion".

19. McQueen designed the wardrobe for David Bowie's tours in 1996-1997, as well as the Union Jack coat worn by Bowie on the cover of his 1997 album Earthling.

20. Icelandic singer Björk sought McQueen's work for the cover of her album Homogenic in 1997.

21. McQueen also directed Björk's the music video for her song "Alarm Call".

22. Contributed the iconic topless dress to Björk's video for "Pagan Poetry".

23. McQueen also collaborated with dancer Sylvie Guillem, director Robert Lepage and choreographer Russell Maliphant, designing wardrobe for theater show "Eonnagata", directed by Robert Lepage. The film "Sylvie Guillem, on the edge" produced by French production company A DROITE DE LA LUNE, traces whole history of the creation of the show, from first rehearsals which took place in Quebec until world premiere which was held in 2008 at Sadler's Wells theater in London.

24. Camilla Belle in a 2009 dress by Alexander McQueen, listed among "100 Best Dresses of the Decade" by InStyle magazine.

25. McQueen's early runway collections developed his reputation for controversy and shock tactics (earning the title "l'enfant terrible" and "the hooligan of English fashion"), with trousers aptly named "bumsters" and a collection titled "Highland Rape".

26. McQueen was known for his lavish, unconventional runway shows: a recreation of a shipwreck for his spring 2003 collection; spring 2005's human chess game; and his autumn 2006 show "Widows of Culloden", which featured a life-sized hologram of supermodel Kate Moss dressed in yards of rippling fabric.

27. McQueen's "bumsters" spawned a trend in low rise jeans; on their debut they attracted many comments and debate.

28. Michael Oliveira-Salac, the director of Blow PR and a friend of McQueen's said, "The bumster for me is what defined McQueen."

29. McQueen also became known for using skulls in his designs. A scarf bearing the motif became a celebrity must-have and was copied around the world.

30. McQueen has been credited with bringing drama and extravagance to the catwalk.

31. He used new technology and innovation to add a different twist to his shows and often shocked and surprised audiences.

32. The silhouettes that he created have been credited for adding a sense of fantasy and rebellion to fashion.

33. McQueen became one of the first designers to use Indian models in London.

34. The president of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, caused a stir when he appointed McQueen head designer at Givenchy in 1996, succeeding John Galliano.

35. Upon arrival at Givenchy, McQueen insulted the founder by calling him "irrelevant".

36. His first couture collection with Givenchy was unsuccessful, with even McQueen telling Vogue in October 1997 that the collection was "crap".

37. McQueen toned down his designs at Givenchy, but continued to indulge his rebellious streak, causing controversy in autumn 1998 with a show which included double amputee model Aimee Mullins striding down the catwalk on intricately carved wooden legs.

38. McQueen stayed with Givenchy until March 2001, when the contract he said was "constraining his creativity" ended.

39. Some of McQueen's accomplishments included being one of the youngest designers to achieve the title "British Designer of the Year", which he won four times between 1996 and 2003.

40. Was also awarded the CBE.

41. Was named International Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers in 2003.

42. December 2000 saw a new partnership for McQueen, with the Gucci Group's acquiring 51% of his company and McQueen's serving as Creative Director. Plans for expansion included the opening of stores in London, Milan, and New York, and the launch of his perfumes Kingdom and, most recently, My Queen.

43. In 2005, McQueen collaborated with Puma to create a special line of trainers for the shoe brand.

44. In 2006, he launched McQ, a younger, more renegade lower-priced line for men and women.

45. McQueen became the first designer to participate in MAC's promotion of cosmetic releases created by fashion designers. The collection, McQueen, was released on 11 October 2007 and reflected the looks used on the Autumn/Winter McQueen catwalk. The inspiration for the collection was the 1963 Elizabeth Taylor movie Cleopatra, and thus the models sported intense blue, green, and teal eyes with strong black liner extended Egyptian-style. McQueen handpicked the makeup.

46. McQueen was an avid scuba diver.

47. He used his passion for scuba diving as a source of inspiration in his designs, including spring 2010's "Plato's Atlantis".

48. Much of his diving was done around the Maldives.

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Alexander McQueen

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