Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer. Born in London in 1969, the youngest of six children, he left school at sixteen and went straight into an apprenticeship at the traditional Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard. He then gained further experience at neighbouring tailors Gieves and Hawkes.
From there McQueen moved to the theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans where he mastered six methods of pattern cutting, from the melodramatic sixteenth century to the brutally sharp tailoring that became a McQueen signature.
Aged twenty McQueen was employed by the designer Koji Tatsuno, who also had roots in British tailoring, and a year later he travelled to Milan to be Romeo Gigili's design assistant. He finally returned to London in 1994 where he completed the MA Fashion course at Central Saint Martins College of Art. His degree collection was famously bought in its entirety by the fashion director and tastemaker Isabella Blow.
McQueen was dubbed an 'enfant terrible' by the international fashion press and became one of the youngest designers to achieve the title of 'British Designer of the Year' in 1996, 1997 and again in 2001.
From October 1996 to March 2001 McQueen held the position of Chief Designer at the French Haute Couture House Givenchy. In December 2000 his own label underwent a partnership with Gucci, who acquired 51% of the company.
In 2003, McQueen was awarded a CBE and 'British Designer of the Year' for the fourth time. He launched a diffusion line, McQ, in 2005.
McQueen died at the age of 40 in 2010.