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Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen is known for dramatic clothing tempered by precision tailoring. Stores in London, Milan and New York.

Alexander McQueen was born in London on March 17th 1969 as the youngest of six children. He left school at the age of 16 and was immediately offered an apprenticeship at the traditional Saville Row tailors Anderson and Shephard and then at neighbouring Gieves and Hawkes, both masters in the technical construction of clothing.

From there he moved to the theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans where he mastered six methods of pattern cutting from the melodramatic 16th Century to the brutally sharp tailoring which has become a McQueen signature. Aged 20 he was employed by the designer Koji Tatsuno who also had his roots in British tailoring. A year later McQueen travelled to Milan where he was gainfully employed as Romeo Gigli's design assistant. He finally returned to London in 1994 where he completed a Masters degree in Fashion Design. His degree collection was famously bought in its entirety by Isabella Blow.

Since leaving St. Martins and in less than 10 years McQueen has become one of the most famous and respected international fashion designers in the world. He was named British designer of the Year four times in 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003. In October 1996 he was appointed Chief Designer at the French Haute Couture House Givenchy where he worked until March 2001.

In June 2003 he was awarded international Designer of the Year by The Council of Fashion Designer's of America (CFDA) and in the same month honoured with 'A Most Excellent Commander of The British Empire' (CBE) by her Majesty the Queen. Alexander was also awarded British Menswear Designer of the Year in 2004.

Alexander McQueen's collections are known for both the emotional power and raw energy of his shows as well as the romantic but determinedly contemporary nature of this clothes. It is typical of McQueen to use the juxtaposition between contrasting elements; fragility and strength, tradition and modernity and fluidity and severity. An openly emotional and even passionate viewpoint is realised with a profound respect and influence for the arts and crafts tradition. Alexander McQueen's collections combine an in-depth working knowledge of bespoke British tailoring, the fine workmanship of the French Haute Couture atelier and the impeccable finish of Italian manufacturing.

In December 2000 a new partnership saw the Gucci Group acquiring 51% of the company. Recent developments include the opening of flagship stores in New York, London and Milan and the launch of the first McQueen Fragrance 'Kingdom', the addition of the new Menswear and Eyewear collections.

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