The fashion world lost one of its greatest living talents Thursday. In an industry that has been hampered by a dour economy, McQueen’s work continued to be a creative highlight when other designers played it safe. His artistry made him equally revered and criticized for his often boundary-pushing, always provocative, work. As another month of runway shows begin, his
presence will surely be missed. We look back at his career.
1969 – The child of a cab driver and teacher, Lee McQueen began making dresses for his sisters (he was the youngest of six) in his hometown of Hackney, London.
1980s – After showing early promise in art school, McQueen landed a series of apprentice positions on Savile Row, home to London’s most prestigious tailors. It was during this time that he showed what later became his trademark sense of ballsiness; while working on a suit for Prince Charles, he reportedly stitched the words “I am a c-nt” into the royal’s jacket lining.
1994- McQueen got accepted into Central Saint Martins, after the famous fashion school’s headmaster persuaded him to apply. He is now known as one of its most famous alums. The legendary stylist Isabella Blow loved his graduation collection so much, she bought it all on the spot, sparking a life-long friendship.
1996 – 1998 – He snapped up the British Designer of the Year award, making him the youngest to win the prize. (He would go on to win the honour three more times.)With fans including Björk and powerful magazine editors, McQueen’s stardom jumped along with his notoriety. He became known for producing wild, statement-making shows with clothing to match. Case in
point: During his time as head designer of Givenchy, he produced a show featuring an amputee model on wooden legs.
2007 – McQueen suffered a devastating loss when his long-time friend and mentor Isabella Blow died in an apparent suicide. Many speculated that he never fully recovered.
2009 – McQueen sparked heated debates among fashion editors with a fall ’09 ready-to-wear collection that looked like a middle finger to the fashion world. It featured models in oversized lips and exaggerated shapes that turned couture’s history on its head.
2010 – McQueen spearheaded fashion’s Internet revolution with a runway show that streamed live on the popular fashion web site Showstudio.com. When news hits that the show would also debut Lady Gaga’s single “Bad Romance,” the viewership broke online records. The collection, his last, was equally monumental for otherworldly, futuristic dresses and eye-popping, sky-high