Happy Birthday Alexander McQueen!

by Paddy Ghaemi

On this day in 1969, a fashion innovator was born in east London. Alexander McQueen was the leading light of creativity in British fashion. At the age of only sixteen, Alexander McQueen dropped out of school and decided to pursue a career in fashion. He trained on Savile Row at Gieves & Hawkes, then earned his master’s degree in fashion design from London’s Central Saint Martins. His first collection was brought to life by the late Isabella Blow, who championed him from his debut show and became one of his closest friends. In 1996, the visionary became the creative director for Givenchy. That same year he won his first of four British Designer of the Year awards. In 2000, he left Givenchy for Gucci, who had bought 51% of his private company; allowing him with to expand his company around the world.

Throughout the years, McQueen gained notoriety for his theatrical runway shows. He dressed celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga especially, became his muse, releasing her latest single at his spring 2010 fashion show. In February 2010, McQueen passed away and left us with a physical representation of his aura. A year after our creative genius passed, the Metropolitan Museum opened up an Alexander McQueen Exhibit in his honor. Below is a picture diary of his successes!

Spring & Summer 1999

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Photo Credit: © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce

In 1999, McQueen showed us his creativity by combining technology and fashion to create an unforgettable runway show. With the use of car robots, the artist spray-painted a white cotton dress making this show one of his most memorable with Givenchy. Safe to say I will forever be amazed by this work of art.

In that same show, he had the double-amputee athlete Aimee Mullins walking in the most beautiful carved wooden legs.

Spring 1998

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Photo Credit: Nicolas Asfouri / AFP / GETTY

In his Spring/Summer ‘98 collection, McQueen continued to prove his uncanny ability to create a theatrical fashion show by making it rain on his runway. By the end of the show, almost every model was soaked in their clothes. Truly a magnificent way to incorporate the elements to emphasizes his beautiful pieces.

Spring/Summer 2005

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Photo Credit: © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce

In Spring/Summer ‘05 McQueen presented his new line on a chess board called “It’s Only A Game.” Inspired by a Harry Potter scene, he used models as their key element — chess pieces. He always managed to keep people on their toes. His shows were always a sight to see, and an event to be at — a breathtaking phenomenon. Checkmate, McQueen.

Autumn/Winter 2006

McQueen was able to incorporate the complexity of technology in fashion once again with a hologram of Kate Moss in his Fall/Winter 2006 Collection — creating artwork before its time and wowing the audiences who saw it first hand.

Fall 2008

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Photo Credit: Marcio Madeira

After being appointed Commander of the British order in 2003 by Queen Elizabeth II,  Alexander McQueen created a collection inspired by British royalty. His pieces were worthy of a royal coronation, creating an amazing tribute to his country and showing his nationalism.

Fall 2009

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Photo Credit: Marcio Madeira

Yet again, McQueen showed us his bravery with his bold Fall/Winter collection. He created a unique darker collection that almost mocked commercial fashion of the time. The fashion designer mastered the art of the dark arts and created eye-catching haute couture.

Spring 2010

McQueen left us with an amazing collection to forever remember him by. In this collection, he presented the Armadillo shoes. That we later see a version of on Lady Gaga. A collection that inspiration came from butterflies and nature. A perfect way to remember the genius designer. He may be gone but his passion and creativity will always serve as an inspiration for many. Long live McQueen. •

This is only a sneak peak of the amazing pieces that he created. For more of his Iconic Pieces Check out this video

Paddy Ghaemi is a sophomore English major from Houston, Texas. This is her first semester writing for Spark’s blog. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the gym, exploring Austin’s coffee/food scene or just Netflix the night away.

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