Alexander McQueen Alexander McQueen was born in 1970 in the East End of London - the son of a taxi driver. He left school at 16 and trained on Savile Row at Gieves & Hawkes, where he reportedly once embroidered a suit for the Prince of Wales with the words "I am a c**t" (in the lining). In 1991 his entire degree show was bought by influential stylist Isabella Blow, whose later suicide in 2007 led to him dedicating his entire spring/summer 2008 collection to her memory. He earned his master's degree in fashion design from London's Central Saint Martins (formerly Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design) in 1992. The of LVMH president, Bernard Arnault, controversially installed McQueen as John Galliano's successor at Givenchy in 1996. McQueen told Vogue in October 1997 that his debut couture offering for the label was "crap", but he stayed with the house until March 2001 - continuing to create challenging collections, including one featuring car-robots spraying paint over white cotton dresses and double amputee model Aimee Mullins striding down the catwalk on intricately carved wooden legs - until the contract which he said was "constraining his creativity" was ended. McQueen won the British Fashion Awards' British Designer of the Year four times and won the Men's Wear Designer of the Year award in 2004. In 2003, he received the CFDA Award for Best International Designer and was honored with a CBE from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the fashion industry. His spring/summer 2010 collection, which featured alien-inspired make-up and reptilian prints, was lauded as his best by the fashion press, with Selfridges buying director Anita Barr telling VOGUE.COM she believed it would be the department store's "best selling collection ever". McQueen died, aged 40, on February 11 2010, amid unconfirmed reports that he committed suicide. Alexander McQueen delivered collections that were often described in superlatives: "I didn't plan out my life like that," he said. "When people recognise and respect what you do, that's nice, but I don't think you ever do this to be famous. Fame should be left to the film stars. We're just offering a service."