The Fashionable Life of Alexander McQueen

BY Molly Finnegan and Tom LeGro  February 11, 2010 at 12:27 PM EST

Alexander McQueen, one of the top fashion designers in the world who was known for his flamboyance and subversive sensibilities, was found dead at his London home on Thursday after an apparent suicide. He was 40.

McQueen, whose first name was actually Lee, was born in London in 1969. As a young man, he was an apprentice to tailors on Savile Row before returning to school to earn a degree in fashion design. In his final year at school, he was famously discovered by the late fashion editor Isabella Blow. He started a line of his own before taking over creative control at French fashion house Givenchy. After a tumultuous tenure of five years, he returned to his own company, which was bought by Gucci in 2000. He became especially popular with celebrities and artists.

Blow, who had become his closest friend, killed herself in 2007. And just this month, his mother Joyce died after a long illness, a loss that had deeply affected McQueen.

A statement from the McQueen company was released, saying, “We are devastated and are sharing a sense of shock and grief with Lee’s family.”

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The Daily Mail has a long tribute to McQueen, including several images from his career, and photos of the celebrities who wore his designs.

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The Washington Post has this assessment (as well as a slide show): “McQueen represented the kind of volatile imagination that transforms clothes into a cultural tapestry, intensely personal therapy and political provocation.”

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The Wall Street Journal reported on the final Twitter messages written by McQueen before his death and also published a round-up of Twitter reactions to his death from prominent designers, fashion editors and socialites, many of whom are gathered in New York for Fashion Week.

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And you can read more reactions and tributes collected by the BBC.

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Watch a slide show of fashions by the late designer: