The Gothic sensibility of a Brothers Grimm fairytale is closer in spirit to Alexander McQueen’s clothing – than the fetish, gore and misogyny he’s been accused of promoting. However dark McQueen’s design, it still achieves a femininity that has seduced everyone from Bjork to the Duchess of Westminster.
McQueen’s rise to power is a fashion fairytale all of its own. The East End taxi driver’s son, born in 1969, is apprenticed to the Prince of Wales’ tailor Anderson & Sheppard on Savile Row where he infamously scrawls obscenities into the linings of HRH’s suits. He works with Romeo Gigli, theatrical costumers Angels & Bermans and Koji Tatsuno before Central Saint Martins MA course director Bobby Hilson suggests he enrol.
His 1992 ‘Jack the Ripper’ graduation collection thrills members of the British fashion press, none more so than Isabella Blow who buys the entire collection and adopts McQueen as one of her proteges.