In fashion history of the 20th century, there have been a few exceptional designers who, in a very short period, have had the greatest impact and left the greatest legacy. Christian Dior was one and Alexander McQueen labelled ‘the hooligan of British fashion’ was certainly another. With unnerving theatricality and impact, his catwalk shows, often used as vehicles for comment, raised the runway bar and gained cult status in the fashion world and beyond.
As hair stylist Eugene Souleiman said in 2007 ‘That’s the wonderful things about Lee: every time he does something, it’s a memory.’ From the ethereal swirling Kate Moss finale to the ‘Widows of Culloden’ Autumn show of 2006 to the iconic mirrored VOSS Spring/Summer show of 2001. Volatile, extreme, exciting and heart breakingly beautiful, his designs have left a legacy which still have the ability to thrill and inspire. McQueen took a unique route into women’s fashion via a tailoring apprenticeship on Savile Row and work as a pattern cutter at renowned costumiers Angel and Bermans. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that his designs have become celebrated for their impeccable tailoring, use of innovative cloth and understanding of the female form.
It is possibly his devotion to the cut of construction of a piece that meant that, however far he pushed the extremes of form and material, what he created still had a hypnotic wearable quality which earned him devoted followers. In the wake of his death in 2010, it is testament to the influence, quality and beauty of McQueen pieces that they are already sought after by fashion collectors across the world. From the notorious bumster trousers to iconic architectural dresses, Armadillo shoes to his iconic skull print used extensively in his scarves and accessories. These are pieces which transcend the fashion now and hold their own as important moments in fashion history.