Remembering Alexander McQueen At 50

17 March 2019
Alexander McQueen, Style, Fashion, Culture
Credit: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images
We pay tribute to the British fashion designer and couturier (who sadly took his own life nine years ago) on what would have been his 50th birthday.

There’s plenty to be said about the creative genius that was Alexander McQueen. We take a look back at the legendary designer’s 40 short – yet remarkable – years with us, and how he continues to be honoured by those who love him. Here's to the man who changed the face of fashion forever.

17 March 1969

Lee Alexander McQueen is born in Lewisham, London and is the youngest of six children.

1985

Aged 16, McQueen leaves high school with an O-level in art. He would go on to complete a course in tailoring at Newham College, followed by an apprenticeship at Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard, later joining Gieves & Hawkes.

1992

McQueen graduates with a Master of Arts in fashion design from Central Saint Martins, with his graduation collection “Jack The Ripper Stalks His Victims” attracting the attention of iconic fashion stylist, soon-to-be muse and lifelong friend Isabella Blow.

The designer launches his namesake brand.

1994

McQueen meets fashion stylist Katy England, and she quickly becomes the designer’s “second opinion”. England would go on to style a number of Alexander McQueen shows, including that year’s October show titled “The Birds”.

1996

McQueen joins storied French fashion house Givenchy as its head designer for both ready-to-wear and couture.

McQueen wins British Fashion Designer of the Year, becoming the youngest ever recipient of the award.

McQueen designs David Bowie’s wardrobe for his 1996-1997 tours.

1997

McQueen wins British Fashion Designer of the Year, together with John Galliano.

1999

McQueen’s spring/summer collection preview – and arguably one of the most iconic moments in fashion to date – features only one model, Shalom Harlow, in a white dress being spray painted by two robots.

2000

McQueen allows the Gucci Group to buy a 51% stake in the Alexander McQueen brand, upsetting rival LVMH, parent company of Givenchy.

2001

McQueen leaves Givenchy.

McQueen’s spring/summer collection titled “VOSS” sees models, including Kate Moss, trapped in a clinical glass box.

McQueen wins British Fashion Designer of the Year.

Remembering Alexander McQueen At 50

Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images 

2003

McQueen is named International Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

McQueen wins British Fashion Designer of the Year.

McQueen is appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the Queen of England.

2006

McQueen launches his diffusion line, McQ.

McQueen supports model and friend Kate Moss during her tabloid scandal, wearing a T-shirt that read “We love you Kate”.

A hologram of Kate Moss appears at McQueen’s fall/winter show.

2007

Isabelle Blow takes her own life, with her death a massive upset to McQueen, who was rumoured to be fighting with Blow at the time of her passing.

2008

McQueen dedicates his spring/summer collection to Isabella Blow.

2009

McQueen presents what would be his last runway show, “Plato’s Atlantis.” It was the first Alexander McQueen show to be live-streamed.

2 February 2010

McQueen’s mother, Joyce, dies.

11 February 2010

McQueen takes his own life at his home in Green Street, London W1.

16 February 2010

Long-time friend and collaborator Lady Gaga dedicates her Brit Awards performance to McQueen.

25 February 2010

McQueen’s funeral takes place at St. Paul's Church, West London.

March 2010

Sixteen pieces of McQueen’s fall/winter collection completed before his death is shown at Paris Fashion Week.

May 2010

Long-term assistant and former head of design for womenswear at Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton, is named creative director of the house.

September 2010

A memorial takes place for McQueen at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, attended by 2500 guests, including Naomi Campbell, Lady Gaga, Stella McCartney, Kate Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Wintour.

2011

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute exhibits “Savage Beauty”, a posthumous tribute to McQueen’s work, in New York.

2015

“Savage Beauty” is exhibited at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, becoming the most popular show ever staged there.