British fashion designer Alexander McQueen has committed suicide, according to a report in the Daily Mail. McQueen, 40, was found in his home in London. A source at his office told the Daily Mail, "It is a tragic loss. We are not making a comment at this time out of respect for the McQueen family."
McQueen's death comes three years after the suicide of his friend, muse and mentor Isabella Blow, who discovered McQueen when she was the style editor at Tatler magazine. She bought his entire first collection, which he delivered to her piece by piece in black trash bags. The two remained close, and McQueen was devastated by her death.
McQueen's professional life was fraught with conflict, which he appeared to court. He was widely known as "the hooligan of English fashion" for designs such as his "bumster" trousers, which had a rise so low that the wearer's backside hung out of them. But his reputation as a rabblerouser didn't hinder his career. In 1996, he was named head designer at couture house Givenchy, replacing John Galliano. He left, after much turmoil, in 2001, claiming that his contract with Givenchy had been "constraining his creativity." In a more successful relationship, McQueen partnered with Gucci in 2000, where he served as creative director for his eponymous line.
McQueen's ability as a designer was incredible; he was named "British Designer of the Year" four times. His first win came in 1996, when he was 26, which is remarkable for a designer. But McQueen's ability went beyond clothes; his runway shows were known for their theatrical extravagance. He was deeply involved in every aspect of the couture shows. In 2007, McQueen partnered with MAC cosmetics to create a line of makeup based on the look from his 2007 Autumn/Winter runway show. Most recently, he had drawn attention for his work with American pop icon Lady Gaga.
McQueen's death is a sad start to New York's Fashion Week, and comes less than a month before he was to present a new collection in Paris. The response has been sad and stunned; StyleIt's Sarah Conley reacted with shock to the news, twittering, "OH MY GOD. This CANNOT BE TRUE. Lies, the world is full of lies. Alexander McQueen CANNOT be dead." Unfortunately, the news appears to be true, and incredibly sad.
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