10 Things You Didn’t Know About Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen, born Lee Alexander McQueen, was a British fashion designer who took the world of fashion by storm. Known for his out-of-the-box creations, he never shied away from pushing boundaries and presenting pieces that were both stunning and controversial. But behind all his eccentric creations and trailblazing efforts, there are some lesser-known facts about this genius designer that many are yet to discover. So, here are 10 things you may not know about Alexander McQueen.

1. He was not an Alexander but a Lee

Yes, you read that right! Alexander McQueen was actually born with the name Lee Alexander McQueen. He decided to use his middle name ‘Alexander’ as his first name when he started his career in fashion to give it a more fashionable twist.

Despite his fame, he remained down-to-earth and his closest friends and family always knew him as Lee. His decision to go by Alexander proved to be a wise one, not only adding a touch of sophistication but also a ring that’s hard to forget.

2. He started as an apprentice in Savile Row

McQueen’s love for fashion did not just spontaneously erupt, it was nurtured over time. Alexander started his career as an apprentice in Savile Row, London’s famous tailoring street. Here he honed his skills by creating precise, masterfully tailored pieces.

His apprenticeship not only marked the beginning of his undying passion for designing but also played a crucial role in shaping his unique and impeccable tailoring skills that garnered him recognition later in his career.

3. He did not hold a design degree initially

Although he later attended the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, McQueen initially ventured into the world of fashion without any formal design education.

He entered the fashion world purely on the basis of his sheer talent, determination, and, most importantly, his innovative vision. It is after establishing his mark in the industry that he went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Fashion design.

4. He was famously known as the “Hooligan of English Fashion”

McQueen was a no-nonsense man who did not believe in producing banal fashion. He garnered the nickname “Hooligan of English Fashion” because of his non-conforming and daring approach towards fashion.

Known for his controversial and shocking collections, his designs were never dull or repetitive. He continued to push boundaries and question the norm, which cemented his place in the world of fashion as the daring hooligan.

5. He was crowned ‘British Designer of the Year’ four times

McQueen’s talent did not go unnoticed. He was recognized for his exceptional skills and creativity and was awarded the title of ‘British Designer of the Year’ four times by the British Fashion Council.

His exceptional talent coupled with his fearless and often provocative approach made him the toast of the British fashion industry and beyond. The fact that he won the prestigious accolade four times is a testament to his matchless creativity and influence.

6. Alexander McQueen had a passion for scuba diving

Beyond the world of fashion and design, McQueen had another passion: scuba diving. He frequently took time off his busy schedule to go diving, an activity he found peaceful and relaxing.

Scuba diving also influenced his work in fashion. He found the underwater world a source of inspiration, its breathtaking natural beauty and myriad of colors often translating into his fashion pieces.

7. He was incredibly charitable

Despite his reputation for being tough and outspoken, McQueen had a caring and charitable side. He was actively involved in multiple charities and regularly donated substantial amounts to causes close to his heart.

McQueen also used his platform in fashion to raise awareness and funds, proving his compassion and dedication to charitable causes extended beyond just monetary contributions.

8. He has a posthumous exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Post his unfortunate demise in 2010, McQueen’s work continued to be celebrated, culminating in a posthumous exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The exhibition titled “Savage Beauty” showcased his groundbreaking works, reflecting his creativity and extraordinary contribution to fashion. The exhibition attracted record-breaking crowds, underscoring McQueen’s enduring impact.

9. McQueen’s favourite bird was a falcon

An interesting aspect of McQueen’s persona was his fascination with falcons. The majestic bird was a recurring motif in many of his designs.

Falcons symbolize freedom, vision, and power, which were all aspects that McQueen respected and incorporated into his work. His own brand logo is also inspired by a falcon wing.

10. He turned down an OBE

Despite his success, McQueen remained humble. He famously turned down an OBE (Order of the British Empire) from Queen Elizabeth II. He believed in his work rather than titles and accolades.

McQueen, throughout his career, remained dedicated to his creativity and originality above anything else. He didn’t invest in titles, instead preferring to let his work speak for itself.

For those interested in discovering more about this fascinating and innovative designer, here are a few resources:

– Alexander McQueen’s official website alexandermcqueen.com
– Information on the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art metmuseum.org
– The Life of Alexander McQueen, a biography here.