Fashion world’s provocateur McQueen dead at 40

British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, whose provocative collections made him a global star, was found dead at his London home on Thursday in what media said appeared to be suicide. He was 40.

Nicknamed the “hooligan” of British fashion for his close-cropped hair, trademark Doc Marten boots and shocking catwalk collections, McQueen rose from teenage trainee tailor to runway darling before the age of 30. He had been expected to unveil his new collection at Paris Fashion Week in March.

“He was found dead this morning,” McQueen’s communications director Samantha Garrett told Reuters by telephone.

A statement released by his office – referring to the designer by his given first name, Lee – read: “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.”

Police said they were not treating his death as suspicious. The BBC reported that McQueen had announced the death of his mother on his Twitter site earlier this month.

McQueen’s friend, the influential British fashion insider Isabella Blow who helped his career take flight, took her own life in 2007 at the age of 48.

“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,” the statement from McQueen’s office said.


Born in a working class area of London, the youngest of six children, McQueen left school at the age of 16 and gained an apprenticeship at the traditional Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard, moving on to neighboring Gieves and Hawkes.

The former British Designer of the Year winner eventually gained a masters degree in fashion design from London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

McQueen had an ability to shock and his autumn/winter 1995 collection “Highland Rape” which featured disheveled looking models in torn clothing was considered a classic example.

The following year, McQueen was named head designer at the staid Paris couture house Givenchy. His first collection for the French atelier was not widely considered to be a success.

But he went on to establish his own label and become part of the Gucci stable of brands owned by French retailer and luxury goods group PPR, drawing in fans, customers and fame and earning a place at the top table of fashion.

“Alexander McQueen was one of the greatest fashion designers of his generation,” PPR Chief Executive Francois-Henri Pinault said in a statement. “His sometimes provocative genius, admired and hailed by all, was constantly opening up new perspectives.”

Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman praised the designer for his “brilliant imagination”.

“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,” Shulman wrote on the fashion bible’s website.

Supermodel Kate Moss canceled a London appearance on Thursday evening and sent word in an emailed statement from her agency Storm that she was “shocked and devastated at the tragic loss of her dear friend Lee McQueen.”

Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld told French radio that McQueen had always flirted with death in his work and that success and fame were never enough to sustain happiness.

“In these types of professions (modeling, acting, fashion design) if you haven’t got a strong back and are not hard-headed you expose yourself to anguish,” Lagerfeld said.

“He also had a nervous depression which reached its culminating point with the death of his mother last week.”


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Michael Kors’ favourite places in LA



A dramatic leopard-print staircase sets the tone for this famous boutique, stocked with one of the country’s best selection of designer vintage clothing and accessories.

8214 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046, 323-655-1960

Fred Segal

It’s hard to imagine any one shop attracting more celebrities than Fred Segal. After 40 years on Melrose Avenue, this ultra-hip boutique is a common destination for who’s who on the Hollywood scene.

8188 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046, 323-651-1800


Here you’ll find the best of LA’s vintage and avant-garde designs, including men’s and women’s fashions, furniture and home accessories. The store’s provocative window displays have ranged from sharp political statements to a Jerry Garcia tribute.

8825 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90069, 310-274-8800

Michael Kors

Featuring luxurious sportswear and accessories from the Michael Kors Collection.

360 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, 310-777-8862

Michael Kors Lifestyle

Offering a full range of shoes and accessories from the Michael Kors, KORS Michael Kors and the MICHAEL Michael Kors collection as well as a selection of ready-to-wear pieces.

189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-549-9500


Dan Tana’s

Charming and unpretentious, the tightly packed rooms swarm with high-pitched good cheer and the bustle of tuxedoed waiters. Taking its cue from ’50s-era red-sauce joints, the simple Italian menu includes entrees of classics like penne, spaghetti and gnocchi.

9071 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069, 310-275-9444

In-N-Out Burger

Founded in 1948, In-N-Out Burger is known for its eye-catching yellow-arrow logo and red and white interiors. The menu includes fries, beverages and hamburgers on griddled buns.  The fries are oversized potatoes with the skins still on and are dunked in cholesterol-free cottonseed oil until just the outsides are done.

7009 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028, 323-000-1111

Madeo Restaurant

Excellent Beverly Hills people-watching scene. Hollywood heavy-hitters pack the place for both lunch and dinner.  Black-and-white photos of old Italy grace the walls and the vast booths are equally appropriate for romantic tête-à-têtes or top-secret business deals.  

8897 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048, 310-859-0242

The Tower Bar

Located on the pool and spa deck of the Sunset Tower Hotel, this glamorous cafe offers an airy cabana-style dining room and poolside terrace overlooking some of LA’s best skyline views.

8358 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069, 323-654-7100


Case Study Houses

Known for mid-century modern architecture, the Case Study Houses were experiments in American residential architecture to design and build affordable and efficient model homes. Many of the houses are located in the Los Angeles area and are designed by renowned architects including Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen.

Best seen by special tours, which can be arranged.

Griffith Observatory

First opened in 1933, this Los Angeles icon is the most visited public observatory in the world.  The observatory recently debuted the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, a multilevel exhibit gallery, a bookstore and a Wolfgang Puck café called Café at the End of the Universe.

2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA 90027, 213-473-0800

Hollywood and Highland

One of LA’s most popular tourist attractions, Hollywood and Highland is located in the heart of Hollywood.  This great walking area includes the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Kodak Theater, home of the Academy Awards.

6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028, 323-817-0220

J. Paul Getty Museum

The Getty Museum contains Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. With an estimated 1.3 million visitors annually, it is one of the most visited museums in the United States. Current exhibits include Irving Penn: Small Trades and Out of Bounds: Images in the Margins of Medieval Manuscripts.

1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049, 310-440-7300

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

With 100,000 objects dating from ancient times to the present, the LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States.  Current exhibits include Pompeii and the Roman Villa, Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples; and Louis Melendez, Master of the Spanish Still Life.

5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-857-6000

Runyon Canyon

In this unique city park, be on the lookout for incognito celebrities in baseball caps and expensive sunglasses hiking with their dogs. The 134-acre park’s main drag is a wide path snaking along the canyon floor, gradually ascending to the scenic point called Cloud’s Rest.

Franklin and Fuller Avenues, 213-485-5572

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