Alexander McQueen

Fashion designer

Fall 06 RTW
For this collection, Alexander McQueen delved into his past, revisiting his Scottish family roots and refining the contents of the rampaging tartan "Highland Rape" show with which he began his career in London in the early nineties. Shorn of its original rawness and anger, the result was a poetic and technically accomplished tale that involved romantic images of Scottish fantasy heroines wandering glens and castle halls in vaguely Victorian tartan crinolines, bird-wing or antler-and-lace headdresses, feathered gowns, and pieces made from brocades that might have been dragged down from ancient wall-hangings.

Fall 06 RTW: Finale
Only Alexander McQueen could provide the astonishing feat of techno-magic that ended his show. Inside an empty glass pyramid, a mysterious puff of white smoke appeared from nowhere and spun in midair, slowly resolving itself into the moving, twisting shape of a woman enveloped in the billowing folds of a white dress. It was Kate Moss, her blonde hair and pale arms trailing in a dream-like apparition of fragility and beauty that danced for a few seconds, then shrank and dematerialized into the ether.

This vision was in fact a state-of-the-art hologram—a piece by the video maker Baillie Walsh, art-directed by McQueen. The gown, a pale cascade of multiple organza ruffles, wasn't just an optical effect, though. It subsequently reappeared in the collection's victory line up, which wound its way around the glass box as the audience was still reverberating with wonder at witnessing this incredible event.

Fall 08 RTW
The one element that has gone missing in the collections is the spine-tingling, eye-welling emotion of a show so exceptional to witness that—despite all exhaustion, cynicism, and workaday pressures—it suddenly transforms being involved in fashion into a magical privilege. Just when it seemed like that feeling was virtually extinct, Alexander McQueen handed his audience a self-imagined fantasy of crinolined princesses and British-colonial romance of such beauty, it arguably surpassed anything he's achieved in 14 years

"Oh! What a tantalizingly terrific tonic that was watching the Alexander McQueen show!!!
The most fantastic head dresses by Philip Tracey,the gracious and wonderful wooden peacock sitting there proudly on top the models head while ruffling and spreading its wooden tail,which resembled coral, in all its splendor so magnificently!"

"McQueen was fantastic, by the way, really gorgeous. Long live the McQueen! There were so many pieces to love. The colors were so vibrant, even the blacks. Every piece, stunning, not a weak look in the bunch. I’m just going to take your advice and forget the historical references, something about the English in India, British Empire, India Empire, I thought of Kipling’s novel “Kim,” immediately. But you know, there is an honesty in that kind of approach and inspiration. It wasn’t trying to come from the point of view of someone from India or someone who has lived in India a long-time as an ex-pat. The references didn’t matter, the collection became it’s own whole. The lines, as you said, were clean, or rather, lean, such a lightness to it, yet, so luxurious, such depth, from the constructions, to the silhouettes, to the colors and fabrics. Furthermore, there was no feeling he was all over the place. He gave us a strong point of view on hemlines on the dresses, etc. He didn’t throw everything but the kitchen sink at us. I felt like I could have a conversation with these clothes, and they would talk back! For ready-to-wear, it had a very couture feel. I didn’t feel I was being zapped by Zeus-like lightening bolts with the McQueen, there was no heavy-handedness here, very Empire-light, very relevant in an age of constitutional monarchy. Royals are to be beheld, admired, but not obeyed, ha."

"What a feast Lee Mc Queen presented to our eyes! The presentation, after watching the mining and redux of other labels and houses (how many more bastardizations can Lagerfeld concoct at Chanel?) was a thrill and a high soooo worth waiting for!"

"McQueen was superb, really. The first looks reminded me Gareth Pugh - and I got scared. But then I could notice Mr McQueen's terrific signatures. Very good work. Dazzling effects.
P.S.: Can anyone look at Mr Mcqueen’s shows without thinking about couture? It’s very intriguing, because despite the haute couture touches (and techniques, I guess) the clothing has a singular contemporary air… I’m still looking for this question."

"McQueen is the only Queen that matters! Go Alex, go!"

"I agree with you on Chanel… it’s a mystery to me why season after season the press praises Lagerfeld.
McQueen would be a great replacement."

[pics: (style.com) (images.google.com)]
[reviews: Sarah Mower @ style.com]

Best Collections - 1
Best Collections - 2
Best Collections - 3
Best Collections - 4
Best Collections - 5
AlexanderMcQueen.com - Catwalk Archive

Deconstruction by Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen CBE (born Lee Alexander McQueen, 17 March 1969) is an English fashion designer.
Born in the East End of London, he is the son of a taxi driver.
McQueen started making dresses for his three sisters at a young age and announced his intention of becoming a fashion designer.

McQueen left Rokeby School at 16, landing himself an apprenticeship with Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard, then working for Gieves & Hawkes and the famous theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans. Whilst on Savile Row, McQueen's clients included Mikhail Gorbachev and Charles, Prince of Wales. At the age of 20, he spent a period of time working for Koji Tatsuno before traveling to Milan, Italy and working for Romeo Gigli.

McQueen returned to London in 1994 and applied to London's most prestigious fashion school, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design to work as a pattern cutter tutor. Due to the strength of his portfolio he was persuaded by the Head of the Masters course to enroll on the course as a student. He received his Masters Degree in Fashion design and famously, his graduation collection was bought in its entirety by influential fashion stylist Isabella Blow, who was said to have persuaded McQueen to change his name from Lee to Alexander (his middle name) when he subsequently launched his fashion career.

Alexander McQueen's early runway collections developed his reputation for controversy and shock tactics (earning the title "enfant terrible" and "the hooligan of English fashion"), with trousers aptly named "bumsters", and a collection entitled "Highland Rape". It has also been claimed that he was on income support and that he needed to change his name for his first show so that he could continue to receive benefits. McQueen is known for his lavish, unconventional runway shows, such as a recreation of a shipwreck for his spring 2003 collection, spring 2005’s human chess game and his fall 2006 show, "Widows of Culloden", which featured a life-sized hologram of supermodel Kate Moss, dressed in yards of rippling fabric.

The president of LVMH, Bernard Arnault caused a stir when he instated McQueen as head designer at Givenchy in 1996, succeeding John Galliano. Upon arrival at Givenchy, McQueen insulted the founder by calling him ‘irrelevant’. Thus, his first couture collection with Givenchy was unsucessful, with even McQueen telling Vogue in October 1997 that the collection was “crap”. McQueen toned down his act at Givenchy, but continued to indulge his rebellious streak, causing controversy in Autumn 1998 with a show which included car-robots spraying paint over white cotton dresses, and double amputee model Aimee Mullins striding down the catwalk on intricately carved wooden legs. McQueen stayed with Givenchy until March 2001, when the contract he said was "constraining his creativity" was ended.

Some of Alexander McQueen's accomplishments include being one of the youngest designers to achieve the title "British Designer of the Year", which he won three times between 1996 and 2003. He has also been awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire), as well as being named International Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designer Awards. December 2000 saw a new partnership for McQueen with Gucci Group acquiring 51% of the company, and McQueen serving as Creative Director. Plans for expansion have included the opening of stores in London, Milan, and New York, and the launch of his perfumes Kingdom, and more recently My Queen. In 2005, McQueen collaborated with Puma to create a special line of trainers for the shoe brand.

Why We Love Fashion? It's Genius.
McQueen is a showman, and he has very high expectations for fashion. He knows how to cut a dress, a jacket and a pair of pants with the best of them, but that's not enough for him. He also wants fashion to have weight and content and depth, so he puts on presentations -- spectacles, really -- of his collections that aim to have the punch of art and that are sometimes political, sociological, shocking and scary. Some of this content carries over to the clothes themselves, either literally or in their aura. But in general their distinguishing features are beauty; a sense of craft; a strong, confident silhouette; and the marriage of tradition with the avant-garde. Even though he's a big believer in tradition when it comes to technique and tailoring, McQueen likes to goose the establishment, even to bite the hand that feeds him if his feathers are ruffled. (For example, his famously fractious tenure as the chief designer of Givenchy, which basically imploded amid much mudslinging in early 2001.)

It would appear that his is the classic story of the kid from the other side of the tracks making it big - and that's how fashion writers like to tell it. But McQueen's approach to fashion brings up the type of questions that surround genuine artists: where does his need to create come from, and what is it about fashion that's so important to him that he'll jump into the fire for it?

Sometimes when McQueen deals with loaded issues, like religious wars, class struggles or poverty and starvation, as he has in the past, he gets people hot and bothered. They object on all sides -- from those who think these subjects have no place in a fashion context, to those who believe that by introducing them on the runway they become glib and inappropriately glamorized. However, expecting McQueen to rid his work of worldly content would be like expecting Andy Warhol to go monochromatic.

Recently, I spent time with McQueen in London and talked to him about all of this. ''It's a personal point for me,'' he said. ''I believe in depicting what's going on. I'm a big anarchist. I don't believe in religion, or in another human being wanting to govern over someone else. The themes that go through my shows will continue to, because there's more to life. It's why I do what I do. I do believe fashion is a voice. And it's a voice that doesn't get heard that much in fashion apart from the work of someone like Rei Kawakubo. There are times when I'm less aggressive, but sometimes you have to shove it in someone's face.

I believe this now more than ever.''

When Bruno Bettelheim wrote his landmark study, ''The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales,'' McQueen was just a small boy. But the designer's shows would be right up the psychiatrist's alley, for they are really often magical landscapes that exhibit a profound understanding of the importance of stories, of fairy tales and myths. Through his presentations, McQueen seems to intuit the various ways in which stories and fairy tales can liberate the emotions. Bettelheim wrote: ''For those who immerse themselves in what the fairy tale has to communicate, it becomes a deep, quiet pool which at first seems to reflect only our image; but behind it we soon discover the inner turmoils of our soul -- its depth, and ways to gain peace within ourselves and with the world, which is the reward of our struggles.''

When McQueen picks up on fairy tales, he taps into their enchantment as well as the darkness and the underworlds so integral to them. His work is infused with ghosts, fears, loves, dreams, wishes -- all of it. His own life has been like one of the great fairy tales; it has lightness and cruelty, twists and turns. If written, this fairy tale would begin with a young boy of Scottish descent growing up in England and showing a passion for fashion by the age of 3. But as in all fairy tales, he has to travel through the dark side first. He is called ''McQueer'' in school, and his father expects him to become an electrician or a plumber like the rest of the lads, not the next Coco Chanel (who also came, as it happens, from a working-class background). Then one day his mother gives the boy a present that changes everything -- a book about people in fashion -- and it suggests to him that his dreams can come true. The next chapters of McQueen's life could have been written by the Brothers Grimm. He earns his way, working in environments worthy of Charles Dickens. Finally, the Cinderella moment happens. He strikes out on his own, and boom! Not only does he gain an instant following but within a few years he also gets to dance at the ball.

Two Madmen in Paris, Maybe Just a Little Bit Lost
Many fashion houses find it profitable to offer parallel realities: clothes made for the runway and the red carpet, and a second, modified group called the commercial line.

Though fashion journalists admit the importance of commercial lines, and even understand their increasing role in a global marketplace, they have a see-no-evil policy about them and feel a childlike sense of disappointment when such clothes pop up on a top designer’s runway. There is still the belief that a little stage madness can transcend everything.

For this reason alone, the collections of John Galliano and Alexander McQueen were noteworthy. They are true madmen of genius, and individually they have changed our notions about clothes. Mr. Galliano has also done a great deal for LVMH (Mo√ęt Hennessy Louis Vuitton) and its sister company, Dior, creating exciting fashion that made front-page news.

But now these designers seem in limbo, and it’s having a decidedly dampening effect on the Paris spring (2007) collections. “I feel it’s the end of something,” an American editor said, a bit dramatically, after the Galliano show.

Maybe the explanation for this sedate mainstream turn is self-evident: Mr. Galliano has to try something different because his clothes aren’t generating the numbers the company wants. A designer doesn’t throw out a successful formula.

Mr. McQueen’s problem is different. His clothes were exquisite; you couldn’t take your eyes off them. Staged in the round Friday night at the Cirque d’ Hiver, with a chamber orchestra, the show opened with somber riding skirts and bird prints. The models’ faces were powdered to a ghostly white, their hair like birds’ nests.

The decadent, romantic pitch of the show was familiar. Still, it was fascinating to see how Mr. McQueen has refined his ideas. You thought, “This is madness,” as the outfits kept coming out, ending with a dress scattered with fresh autumn-tinted hydrangeas.

Yet in a way the collection wasn’t really about Handel’s “Sarabande,” as the press notes claimed, or the portraits of Goya or the Marchesa Luisa Casati. It was about the commercial line in the showroom. Those clothes may be pretty, but what is one supposed to comment on, exactly? The impression or the reality?

Christian Dior: Haute Couture

Designer: John Galliano

Fall 05
A black-draped horse-drawn carriage arrived through the gates of a ruined Edwardian garden where cobwebs festooned broken statues, fallen chandeliers, and clumps of lily of the valley. Lo! It's the ghost of Madame Dior arriving with her little sailor-suited boy, Christian, whose birthday fell 100 years ago.

Fall 06
Let us not be so prosaic as to ask exactly what Joan of Arc, Siouxsie Sioux, Botticelli, and the forties French film actress Arletty may have to do with one another—we've arrived in the parallel universe known as John Galliano's Christian Dior. So, on with the show!

Spring 07
What psychological process did it take to lift John Galliano to the extraordinary place of brilliance he reached—or rather, rediscovered—in his Spring couture? Everything about the Dior collection—inspired, he said, "by Pinkerton's affair with Cio-Cio San, Madame Butterfly"—reconfirmed his unique talent to evoke beauty, sensitivity, narrative, and emotion in a fashion show.

Spring 08
Who else could open a supposed treatise on Symbolist painters (quick, log onto Wikipedia!) with a blast of Led Zeppelin, gigantic overblown shapes, eye-watering color, and a whole lotta bling? Why, only John Galliano in his haute couture mode, of course.

Fall 08
In a way, it was a classic: combining the indelible fifties inspiration of Lisa Fonssagrives, Dior mannequin and wife of Irving Penn, and that of the new model of French conservative chic, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Those two streams of thought merged into a collection John Galliano called "fresh couture—restrained and refined."

w / John Galliano

Spring 09
There are only two questions anyone is asking Paris couturiers this season: "What are your inspirations?" followed swiftly by, "And what do you think about the recession?" John Galliano's answers were "Flemish painters and Monsieur Dior," and to the point, "There's a credit crunch, not a creative crunch. Of course, everyone is being more careful with their discretionary purchases. I am. But it's our job to make people dream, and to provide the value in quality, cut, and imagination."

[pics: (style.com) (images.google.com)]
[reviews: Sarah Mower @ style.com]

Haute couture (French for "high sewing" or "high dressmaking") refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques.

For more than a century, couture has been emblematic of the triumph of costume and fashion. It represents the fusion of fashion—the modern entity that combines novelty and synergy with personal and social needs—and costume—the arts of dressmaking, tailoring, and crafts constituent to apparel and accessories.

What's the Big Deal with Haute Couture?
Superior fabrics, dyes and trimmings go hand-in-hand with exquisite workmanship to realise a designer's dream. A whole team of people will work on one garment, cutting, sewing and hand stitching details. Haute couture's offering of distinction in design and technique remains a compelling force, one even more potent when in many areas of the industry, quality has atrophied.

In our 'wear it once, throw it away' society, buying haute couture might be seen by the super-rich as an investment, akin with buying great art. It remains completely unaccountable to cost, but it's target audience hardly needs to reach for the price tag. There is also a veil of mystery surrounding haute couture: The women who regularly buy it do not advertise themselves, while the fashion houses will not reveal their client lists.

So who does buy it?
Traditionally, only wealthy private clients were able to gain an audience with the fashion houses, never mind afford the clothes. Not everyone can fund their fashion addiction when the cost of dresses would bankrupt a small nation. Simply put, wearing haute couture is an aspirational symbol of power and prestige reserved for those for whom money is no object. The strange thing is that the some of the people buying to wear, as opposed to borrowing for public appearances (see Carla Bruni and any number of actresses on the red carpet), are the wives of Saudi Arabian billionaires whom no-one's ever heard of.

More significantly, the notoriety and prestige of haute couture fashion is actually part of a carefully executed business strategy. They have the unique ability to generate tremendous publicity for a design house - and that almost always leads to higher sales in the designer's ready-to-wear collections, which can often include simplified, more affordable versions of couture pieces. The more outrageous the piece, the more likely the front page newspaper splash. The luxury kudos also filters down to their cheaper products like cosmetics or perfume which are then sold to the masses, bringing in enormous piles of lovely cash. Which is the whole point really isn't it?

Secret World of Haute Couture
Margy Kinmonth takes a journey from Paris to New York and California to meet both designers and customers in this much talked about but little explained pocket of the fashion industry. Haute couture’s traditional American customers are getting old and dying off now and fewer wealthy young women are taking their place to ensure its survival. She discovers how much has changed and surprisingly how much has stayed the same in this story of decadent decline.

"If you're thin enough to wear the dress the model wore, you get it at 30% discount - otherwise, it has to be custom made and sold at full haute couture price."

"Haute couture is a wearable form of collectible art; it's as important or as unimportant as drinking the finest wine or driving the fastest car."

Behind the Scenes of Haute Couture Fashion Week - SS 07
For Morgane, her job is a constant uncertainty:
I know of girls that have been canceled - they were in line just before the podium, made up, hairdressed, amongst all the other girls and they were canceled...at the last moment.
In the modeling world, nothing's ever sure and every detail counts.

They All Adore Couture
At last night's Oscar ceremony, there was one trend that seemed to be more interesting than any of the others, and that was the reemergence of couture. Just about every major presenter and nominee was wearing a one-of-a-kind piece, and in the age of "recession" and "downsizing," it was nice to see the stars doing all out glamour. Here are my favorites of the night.


Tilda for AnOther

Tilda Swinton pics
Another Magazine (ss 09)

Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English, to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture and politics.
Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo.

Avant-garde Fashion Photogaphy



Can You Still Afford to Be a Player?
Details feature (03/09)

Men's Magazine Treats Women Like Garbage, Furniture


Party Fashion

Kate Bosworth_Vanity Fair Oscar Party

Christina Applegate

Kate Beckinsale

Victoria Beckham, Kate Beckinsale & Eva Longoria @ the Elton John Party

[pics: (oscars.movies.yahoo.com) (nydailynews.com)]

Party Poopers

Naomi Watts

Ginnifer Goodwin

Uma Thurman

Jessica Biel

Elizabeth Banks


Selma Hayek

Gwen Stefani [w/Gavin Rossdale]

Best and Worst Party Looks


Academy Awards

SCORE: 6/10
YES: bodice ; fit ; elegant draping
NO: colour ; facial expression ; dark nail polish ; lack of accessories

Evan Rachel Wood_Elie Saab

"The draping on that dress is FAB-ulous! It's artful and gorgeous and I want it! When she sees this shot she'll probably regret that she looks so haughty and realize the dress is prettier than she is."

SCORE: 8/10
YES: bodice ; pretty draping
NO: garden party colour ; boring jewelry ; hair & brows too severe

Natalie Portman_Rodarte

dress. Though I agree...she could use a stunning necklace to go with it."

"Loved the dress on Natalie but throughout the walk down the red carpet, I kept thinking either she has a migraine or she's peeved with someone or something. I think it's the shape of the eyebrows that gives her something of a "mean" look. Maybe ought to consider softening up those puppies."

SCORE: 6/10
YES: colour ; homage to her culture
NO: style ; fabric looks cheap

Freida Pinto_John Galliano

"I love her dress. I love that she wore something from her culture."

"The color is amazing on her, but I wish it didn't have that awkward sleeve. That just seems to throw off the whole dress."

SCORE: 1/10
YES: hair
NO: style ; fabric

Leslie Mann

Reminds me of a cheap necklace I once bought at a Sarah Coventry jewelry party. I was 14."

"The Reynolds Company should be proud."

like she skinned a disco ball."

SCORE: 5/10
YES: originality ; dramatic train
NO: colour ; train overwhelms ; hair ; boring jewelry

Marisa Tomei_Versace

"She's so tiny! Why such a big dress?"

like a little too much dress for her little frame. Take some of the train off and change the color and she would be good."

SCORE: 1/10
YES: style & fit (top half)
NO: style (bottom half) ; colour ; belt ; hair

Miley Cyrus

"She looks like an old Christmas candle."

"I love that the redneck princess has dressed according to the Disney Princess codes."

SCORE: 1/10
YES: clutch
NO: fit ; style ; colour ; messy hair

Jessica Biel_Prada

is she gift wrapped?

"Not only
did she wear the tablecloth, she made sure she had a napkin as well."

"This dress REEKS! If it was a vegetable, it would be a rutabaga."

"This dress is a mess! It's funny when women who basically are famous because of showing their body try to cover up and they just look awful. Next time wear something tight girl, LOL"

SCORE: 6/10
YES: colour ; fit (top half)
NO: age inappropriate

Kate Winslet_Yves Saint Laurent

, dress is far too matronly for her...maybe if it was more form fitting..but top fits great."

I love Kate and she normally looks quite elegant but this dress is a flop. The shiny satin isn't flattering and that lacy thing hanging from her waist looks like fancy dishrag."

SCORE: 1/10
YES: shoe style
NO: style ; fit ; fabric ; matchy-matchy outfit ; jewelry too big

Heidi Klum_Roland Mouret

Yard sale jewelry. No style to her hair, bad part, stick straight behind one ear. Come on girls. You are supposed to be the cream of the crop and loaded. You are too old to just show a pretty leg and think that will be enough. The dress is too loose at the waist, with screwy slit and an ill fit bodice. The neck line is suicide. Crackhead couture. Lay off the spray tan."

"Not the right look for the Oscars."

"Beautiful girl, but what's with the "Jetsons" dress?"

"She looks
like a very poorly dressed hooker."

81st Annual Academy Award Arrivals