British fashion icon Alexander McQueen commits suicide days after death of his beloved mother
British fashion designer Alexander McQueen has been found dead after taking his own life.
McQueen with his mother Joyce at the Givenchy fashion show in July 1997
The 40-year-old committed suicide just days after the death of his beloved mother, Joyce, last Tuesday.
His death also comes just three years after his close friend, Isabella Blow – who plucked him from obscurity and helped him become a star – killed herself.
McQueen, who was christened Lee but used his middle name for his label, was found at his luxury flat in Mayfair, central London. It is believed he hanged himself.
One of his contemporary lines, McQ, was scheduled to be shown at New York Fashion Week on Thursday afternoon.
His design company said in a statement: ‘On behalf of Lee McQueen’s family, Alexander McQueen today announces the tragic news that Lee McQueen, the founder and designer of the Alexander McQueen brand, has been found dead at his home.
‘At this stage it is inappropriate to comment on this tragic news beyond saying that we are devastated and are sharing a sense of shock and grief with Lee’s family.
‘Lee’s family has asked for privacy in order to come to terms with this terrible news and we hope the media will respect this.’
Two police officers were outside the entrance to his flat, which is in a six-storey red-brick building.
Scotland Yard said police were called to the property by the London Ambulance Service at 10.20am after he was found dead.
A police statement said: ‘Next of kin have been informed, however we await formal identification. A post mortem will be scheduled in due course, an inquest will open and adjourn in due course. The death is being treated as non suspicious.’
Openly gay, McQueen once described himself as the ‘pink sheep of the family’.
He once said: ‘I was sure of myself and my sexuality and I’ve got nothing to hide. I went straight from my mother’s womb onto the gay parade.’
The designer married his partner, film-maker George Forsyth in 2000 on a yacht owned by the prince of Gambia in Ibiza. Close friend Kate Moss was a bridesmaid.
Loss: British fashion icon Alexander McQueen has killed himself
Posts on his Twitter page reveal he had been battling with grief after his mother died last Tuesday.
On February 3rd, he wrote: ‘I’m letting my followers know the my mother passed away yesterday if it she had not me nor would you RIP mumxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx…
Moments later, he added: ‘But life must go on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’
Then on Sunday, he said: ‘Sunday evening been a ****ing awful week but my friends have been great but now i have to some how pull myself together and finish with the HELLS ANGLES & PROLIFIC DEAMONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’
‘His brilliant imagination knew no bounds as he conjured up collection after collection of extraordinary designs.’
‘At one level, he was a master of the fantastic, creating astounding fashion shows that mixed design, technology and performance and on another he was a modern-day genius’ Vogue editor, Alexandra Shulman
‘He was a genius. What a terrible, tragic waste.’ Designer Katherine Hamnett
He appeared to have recovered slightly by this week. His final message, posted on Tuesday, said: ‘I’m here with my girl annie tinkerbell wishing kerry the ****,happy birthday in NY, your 40 now girl time to slow it down we think.’
However, posts before his mother died also hint that he was having troubles. On February 1st, he wrote: ‘From heaven to hell and back again, life is a funny thing. beauty can come from the most strangest of places even the most disgusting places.’
Within minutes of the Mail breaking the news of his death this afternoon, Twitter was awash with thousands of stunned posts.
Leading lights of the fashion world also began to pay tribute.
Alexandra Shulman, editor of Vogue, said: ‘Lee McQueen influenced a whole generation of designers. His brilliant imagination knew no bounds as he conjured up collection after collection of extraordinary designs.
‘At one level, he was a master of the fantastic, creating astounding fashion shows that mixed design, technology and performance and on another he was a modern-day genius whose gothic aesthetic was adopted by women the world over. His death is the hugest loss to anyone who knew him and for very many who didn’t.’
Sue Whiteley his former CEO at McQueen said: ‘This is devastating news. He was an unforgettable part of my life. He was a talent who was beyond others. People who worked with him would give 100 per cent and more because he was totally inspiring. This is an unimaginable loss for the fashion world.
‘He was able to bring creativity to whatever he turns his hand to, from perfume bottles to every piece of clothing. It is a dark, dark day to hear this news. he was a British icon in fashion whose loss is unimaginable.’
Designer Katherine Hamnett said: ‘He was a genius. What a terrible, tragic waste.’
Alexander McQueen with Isabella Blow in 2003
Close: Alexander McQueen with Isabella Blow in 2003
Born in the East End and the son of a taxi driver, McQueen got his training in tailoring in Savile Row, eventually making suits for Prince Charles, and won the distinction of being named British designer of the year four times between 1996 and 2003.
He went on to be awarded the CBE, as well as being named International Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designer Awards.
McQueen became the ‘enfant terrible’ of the fashion world after he was famously discovered by Isabella Blow, who was fashion director of Tatler.
She bought all the clothes he made for his graduate show for £5,000 and they were delivered to her in black binliners.
Miss Blow killed herself in May 2007 after taking an overdose of weed killer after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She had attempted suicide several times by then.
McQueen was forced to deny rumours of a rift between the pair at the time of her death, saying: ‘It’s so much b******s. These people just don’t know what they’re talking about. They don’t know me. They don’t know my relationship with Isabella. It’s complete bull****.
‘People can talk; you can ask her sisters.… That part of the industry, they should stay away from my life, or mine and Isabella’s life. What I had with Isabella was completely disassociated from fashion, beyond fashion.’
McQueen was so distraught by Isabella’s death that he dedicated his spring summer 2008 show at Paris fashion week to his late friend.
The invites to the show were poster-size illustrations Richard Gray. It depicts a triumphant Blow, in a McQueen dress and a Philip Treacy headdress, in a horse-drawn carriage ascending to heaven.
Miss Blow had said: ‘My relationship with McQueen began in 1994, when I went to a Saint Martins graduate show. I couldn’t get a seat, so I sat on the stairs and I was just watching, when I suddenly thought: I really like those clothes, they are amazing. It was his first collection.
‘It was the tailoring and the movement which initially drew me to them. I tried to get hold of him and I kept calling his mother, but he was on holiday.
She kept saying: ‘He’s not here, he’s not here.’ She told him: ‘This crazy person is trying to get hold of you.’ I eventually got to meet him and I decided to buy the collection: I bought one thing a month and paid him £100 a week. He’d bring an outfit in a bin liner, I’d look at it and then he’d come to the cashpoint with me.’
The designer was the youngest of six children. He left school at 16 and went to work at Savile Row’s Anderson & Sheppard, whose clients included Prince Charles and Mikhail Gorbachev, after he saw a television program about the apprentice shortage in traditional tailoring.
He went on to work for Gieves & Hawkes, theatre’s famous Angels & Bermans costumiers, and then worked in Japan and Italy.
He returned to London in 1994, hoping to work as a pattern cutter tutor at London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins fashion school. Thanks to the strength, of his portfolio he was persuaded to enrol in the course himself.
After graduating McQueen set up his own label based in the East End of London.
With the launch of his ‘bumsters’ trousers with a waistband so low that the buttocks are revealed, McQueen made his label famous through tabloid headlines.
He went on to be named head designer at Givenchy in 1996, succeeding John Galliano, before joining forces with Gucci, who bought 51 per cent of his company.
source from DailyMail