In today’s edition of Designer Decoding, I will be concentrating on a very well-known designer. Alexander McQueen is known for his evening wear and semi-formal dresses. However, unlike Oscar De La Renta, McQueen had a much more avant-garde aesthetic towards his collections, and participated in a large array of Haute Couture fashion shows. Alexander McQueen was a revolutionary in the art of inducting avant-garde fashions into semi-formal and formal events. The tragedy of his premature death will always have a personal effect on both the fashion community and those who loved him dearly.
Lee Alexander McQueen on March, 17 1969 in Lewisham, London of the United Kingdom. He was born to a taxi-driver father named Ronald and a social science teacher named Joyce. McQueen would later drop out of college at age 16 in order to work an apprenticeship at Anderson & Shepherd. Eventually McQueen applied to Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, where he gained his masters degree in fashion design and sold his entire senior collection to Isabella Blow, who is said to have coined the name “Alexander McQueen”. McQueen Had his first professional collection in 1993, and would continue these collections even after his death in 2010. The current creative director of the Alexander McQueen label is Sarah Burton.
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McQueen had an innate talent for prints and the use of fluid materials, such as chiffon and silk. In the looks above, McQueen mix these two talents in order to make these whimsical and fluid works of art. All three looks include a gradient effect, however, while the first and last look have a single color degrade into different shades, the second look is an entire rainbow effect. I am especially appreciative of the belts that are used on each model in order to add an understated accessory along with clinch the waist.
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McQueen’s talent for construction was unmatched with any designer of his time, especially in his use of ruffles. Ruffles have always served as a symbol of higher class and portray the appearance of class and wealth. However, this was not nearly enough for Alexander, who used exaggerated amounts of tulle in order to make incredible volume in some of his more creative looks. I am astounded with his talent.
These three dresses, which either appeared during the last years of his life or post-mortem, are just a few examples of some of McQueen’s more avant-garde work. The first look is absolutely spectacular in every shade and form, especially with the incredible construction required to create the bodice and the skirt. The second look show’s McQueen’s use of print along with the interesting shoulder padding. Finally, the final look is an incredible take on a rainbow bird-like aesthetic, which once again shows Alexanders talent with prints. The final look is one of my favorite McQueen designs, with the incredible use of feathers and the silhouette–perfection!
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As the highest paid model of all history, Gisele Bundchen has an endless amount of gateways into wearing clothes from the top designers in the world. With her body, she can pull off any type of dress imaginable, which only makes Fall 2005 McQueen gown look even more incredible. Once again, a long red gown is a status symbol for Hollywood glamour, and this dress made Gisele the talk of the town during the 2011 Met Gala.
Mrs. Sarah Jessica Parker, most known for her iconic portrayal of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, has had some hits and misses when not filming her fashionista character. However, this printed Alexander McQueen gown was a total home run, as it not only fit her body perfectly but the color was complimentary to her golden toned skin. I definitely prefer this dress on SJP more then on the model, as I feel that the dress is wearing the model while SJP is owning the gown.
Now, this is another example of a printed Alexander McQueen gown, however, it has a more casual and chic feel to it in comparison to many of his other designs. The A-List it girl Mila Kunis rocked this gown 2011 Resort Collection Alexander McQueen during the 2011 SAG awards, and while it was a quite safe choice, it allowed Mila’s indescribable beauty to shine through without much distraction.
Another thing that made McQueen different from other designers was his design of absolutely incredible accessories for his shows and on the market. McQueens use of large earrings and circlets, which originate in South West Asia, brought more of that culture into the western world. McQueen used inspiration from the spiritual world and nature in order to created encrusted handbags, and was inspired by Greek and Roman mythology to create the decorated shoes that you see above. All in all, Alexander McQueen may have succumbed to his disease of depression, however, his affect on the fashion shall never be forgotten.
R.I.P Lee Alexander McQueen, 1969-2010