Alexander McQueen dropped out of school at age 16 to pursue a career in fashion design, learning tailoring on Savile Row and pattern making from costumiers Angels and Bermans. He showed his degree collection fresh out of the Central Saint Martins
Masters program in 1994, which was bought in its entirety by style icon and fashion editor Isabella Blow. The label is known for its dramatic, gorgeously constructed pieces, combining elements of British tailoring with French couture. Signature looks included billowy dresses cut in hourglass silhouettes, frock coats paired with skinny pants, sharp, angular suiting, and darkly romantic gowns covered in intricate embroidery and lace. Gucci
Group acquired 51 percent of the label in 2000. In 2004, McQueen designed his first menswear collection and was named British Menswear Designer of the Year by the British Fashion Council. The brand introduced fragrances in 2003 and 2005 (Kingdom and MyQueen) and in January 2006 launched McQ, a more affordable, denim-based ready-to-wear line including menswear, womenswear, and accessories. McQueen flagships stores are in London, New York, Milan, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, and franchised stores are in Istanbul and Moscow. Tragically, McQueen was found dead in his London apartment in February 2010. The cause of death was suicide. Sarah Burton, McQueen's right-hand woman who started working for the label in 1996, took over as the new creative director after McQueen's death. In May 2011, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute celebrated the opening of "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," an exhibition featuring McQueen's extraordinary contributions to fashion, including signature pieces from his Central Saint Martins
postgraduate collection to his final runway presentation. More than 660,000 people went to see the exhibit, setting a new attendance record for a fashion exhibition at the Met.