Why I Love Alexander McQueen…
Last Monday I shared with you why I love the fashion house, Acne. However today, I’m going to show you why I love the label Alexander McQueen, now run by Sarah Burton. But first for a little bit of history:
Alexander McQueen (born 17th March 1969), left school at 16, and was offered an apprenticeship at two neighbouring tailors on Savile Row: Anderson and Shepard and then later Gieves and Hawkes, both forerunners in beautifully constructed clothing. He then moved on to Angels and Bermans, who produce fantastic, authentic costumes. Here he learnt 6 different pattern cutting techniques which he took and turned into his signature style. Just four years after he had left school, he was employed by Koji Tatsuno. A year later, McQueen found himself in Milan where he was employed as Romeo Gigli’s design assistant. When he returned to London, he completed a Master’s degree in Fashion Design at Central Saint Martin’s. Isabella Blow, famously bought his entire MA collection.
In October 1996, McQueen was made Chief Designer at Givenchy, where he worked until March of 2001. In 2000, Gucci Group bought up 51% of the company, where Alexander McQueen was still creative director. The company Alexander McQueen was very successful, and expanded with flagship stores opened in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Milan, and London. Tragically, Alexander McQueen committed suicide on the 11th of February 2010, and Sarah Burton (his right hand woman) was appointed as Creative Director.
Alexander McQueen became one of the most respected fashion designers in just 10 years, and his name still lives on with Sarah Burton now in command. McQueen was recognised as the British Designer of the year in 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2003, International Designer of the Year by The Council of Fashion Designer’s of America (CFDA) in 2003, A Most Excellent Commander of The British Empire (CBE) by her Majesty the Queen in 2003 and GQ Menswear Designer of the Year in 2007. McQueen was known for his bespoke British tailoring, his incredible eye for detail, and his impeccable finish on his clothes. He contrasted different elements together to make his final pieces. His catwalk shows are truly incredible, and that is one of the reasons I love this brand. Here are my favourite shows:
La Dame Bleue:
Natural Dis-tinction Un-natural Selection:
Sorry guys… The video didn’t want to upload. It’s worth clicking on the link though – I think this is the best of his shows.
So, why do I love Alexander McQueen? Let me start with the fact that all his clothes were beautifully crafted, and still are, thanks to Sarah Burton. He manages to create an atmosphere of beauty no matter what he does… he can make a reptile look glamorous; see the final piece from Plato’s Atlantis:
This is fantastic. I just love it – to me, this is the most beautiful dress I have ever seen. It is more than fashion; it is art too. I guess McQueen is like Marmite – either you love him or you hate him; so, I’m sorry for those of you who don’t like his collections, but I love them.
Let me start with the detail: It is impossible to say that his clothes are not detailed. The final piece from Plato’s Atlantis is incredible because of all the little shiny scales. I cannot fully appreciate how long, and how much hard work must have gone into this, but all I can say is that it paid off. I love how this … this… what actually is it??? I’m going to call it the reptile skin, because that’s what it looks like. I love how the reptile skin looks like it could be peeling off the human – what I mean is this – I love the way McQueen captured the felling of the animal, and it almost seems as if he transferred the animal’s skin on to a human.
Secondly, he has re-invented the high heel. This picture was again taken from the Plato’s Atlantis show:
Nobody would have ever though of re-inventing the heel like this. Nobody except McQueen. At 10 inches high, they are truly spectacular. What I love about these, is that at first – nobody knew what they were. They seemed to be a cross between heels, boots and pointe shoes. Then people just accepted that McQueen had pulled out of the bag a new type of shoe. And again, either you love these heels or you hate them. I can understand why people think that these are ugly and yet, they also seem delicate and fragile; they seem as if the could be broken at the tiniest movement.
Finally, I love this brand because a large majority of the clothes are just simply un-wearable (lucky they have the ready-to-wear line)! Many designers are famed for their extravagance, and expensiveness, but the thing I love about Alexander McQueen’s extravagant pieces, is that they are all beautiful, and creative. And that, is why I love Alexander McQueen, he could and Sarah Burton still does create detailed, imaginative and beautiful clothes.
Here are some of his most extravagant and creative clothes, and a picture of Sarah Burton and the late designer:
Check out my blog next Monday for Why I Love Alexander Wang…
ewfashionblogger – Your online fashion stylist.