Fashion Designer (1969 - 2010)
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN (1969 - 2010) burst onto the fashion stage in 1992, courting controversy as headlines hailed him as the new enfant terrible. Though contentious and frequently misunderstood, he established the fashion label that is now internationally acclaimed and coveted without compromising his approach. From the start of his career McQueen has both shocked and delighted his audience with raw presentations often depicting bleak history and anarchic politics. These shock tactics began in dimly-lit warehouses away from the staid environment of the London Fashion Week tents. His autumn/winter 1995 catwalk show in particular captured the headlines. Entitled Highland Rape, the collection featured dishevelled and battered-looking models in torn clothing. It was McQueen’s comment on the rape of the Highlands at the hands of the British; interpreted by others as a perverse and misogynistic celebration of the sexual violation of women. His spring/summer 1997 collection, La Poupee, featured a black model whose movements were restrained by a metal cage attached to her limbs, hit the headlines again. Inspired by the German puppet-master Hans Bellmer, the rusty contraption was designed to evoke a marionette; inevitably, again, some of the press saw bondage, slavery and the subordination of women. McQueen’s flair for showmanship has led him to be celebrated as much for outrageous theatricality as for the unique combination of aggressive tailoring and lyrical romanticism in his clothes. As the stature of the McQueen name grew, so did the twice-yearly spectacle. His weird and whimsical catwalk narratives have included models encircled in flames, drenched in rainstorms or spun like music-box dolls on revolving circles in the floor. The shows are inspired by cult films by Stanley Kubrick, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Alfred Hitchock, or by the dark photographs of Joel-Peter Witkin. It Witkin’s work which inspired McQueen’s...
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