Thursday, February 11, 2010


PARIS—Provocative British designer Alexander McQueen has died, the company that owns his fashion house said Thursday.

"He has passed away," said a spokeswoman for Gucci Group, part of Paris's retail-to-luxury group PPR SA.

Alexander McQueen at his fall-winter menswear collection in Milan in January.
More on McQueen

* McQueen's Last Tweets
* Twitter Reactions to Designer's Death
* McQueen's Primordial Reveries (10/06/09)
* McQueen's Theatrics Revs Up Audience (03/10/09)
* McQueen Holds (Goth) Court (03/01/08)
* McQueen Pays Tribute to Isabella Blow (10/06/07)

Samantha Garrett, a spokeswoman for the British fashion icon, said the designers body was found at his London home Thursday morning. "We don't have any information in terms of circumstances," she said.

Police didn't directly comment about how Mr. McQueen died, but said the death wasn't being treated as suspicious.

Mr. McQueen was the creative chief behind the brand he founded in the 1990s and sold to Gucci Group in 2000. His dramatic designs, such as reptilian dresses and hoof-like shoes, were met with critical acclaim, yet he struggled to get commercial success.

Mr. McQueen, who was also once the designer for French fashion house Givenchy, was due to present his collection during Paris fashion week less than a month from now.

"McQueen influenced a whole generation of designers. His brilliant imagination knew no bounds as he conjured up collection after collection of extraordinary designs," said Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue. "At one level he was a master of the fantastic, creating astounding fashions 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."

Mr. McQueen received his training at London's Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design, long recognized for its fashion-forward approach and encouragement of young designers. He worked for traditional Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard, and Gieves and Hawkes before branching out into his own more theatrical designs.

His edgy creations have been seen on numerous red carpets, worn by celebrities including Lady Gaga, Sandra Bullock and Cameron Diaz.

News of Mr. McQueen's death came as New York fashion week kicked off, sending shock waves through the industry. "Everyone in this tent is shocked," said Cindi Leive, editor in chief of Glamour magazine. "He was obviously incredibly talented and had a creative energy. There was a real sense of energy in everything he did."

Hal Rubenstein, a fashion director for InStyle magazine, said Mr. McQueen started out tough and angry—in his work and attitude—but softened over time as he felt more appreciated by the industry. Mr. McQueen, he added, was a master of integration of technology into fashion. "He changed the way so many of us see shows," Mr. Rubenstein said.

Fashion designer Richard Chai, who learned of the news as he was preparing for his 11 a.m. show at Bryant Park, called Mr. McQueen's death a tragedy. "He was a genius. I really have no words. It is just sad," he said.

The British designer's death comes three years after the suicide of fashion guru Isabella Blow, who helped launch Mr. McQueen's career.

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