Alexander McQueen: British fashion icon
Part fashion rebel, part old-school tailor, the late Alexander McQueen was one of Britain’s best-known designers. Today, the fashion house continues his signature style of sharp tailoring with unexpected twists. We love the elegant outlines and accessories, including the most stylish shades out there.
Rebel, tailor – and fashion revolutionary
Alexander McQueen was one of British fashion’s genuine household names. Known for his bold designs and rebellious streak, the brand captured the attention of celebrities and fashion magazines across the globe. This is still true for today's brand – McQueen’s confident style lives on to provide style seekers with iconic, groundbreaking pieces.
Surprisingly, this fashion rebel, renowned for his controversial catwalk shows, began as a tailors’ apprentice and learned his trade in traditional Savile Row. He later worked at a theatrical costumier, which explains the dramatic designs and spectacular fashion shows. Today, you'll find impeccable tailoring and bold detailing alongside chic and elegant ready-to-wear collections. For men, we have that sharply tailored look (but with plenty of signature twists).
Alexander McQueen’s legacy to the fashion industry is huge – but did you know that he was responsible for the infamous low-rise jeans, adopted by teenage boys the world over? Another lasting and recognisable McQueen design is the skull-patterned scarf, which made a rebel motif a must-have item.
Lewisham-born McQueen used his home city as inspiration, and you can still expect to see London’s influence across today’s designs. From Savile Row techniques to punk embellishments, London’s diverse styles feature across the collections. McQueen’s time as Chief Designer at Givenchy added a dash of classic French couture to the mix. There are also plenty of nods to McQueen’s Scottish heritage, with signature splashes of tartan.
Alexander McQueen’s tailored look for women
Over the years, Alexander McQueen has dressed some seriously famous, and we mean famous, women – think Sarah Jessica Parker in that iconic tartan and tulle combo. Recent ready-to-wear collections have seen classic, almost masculine tailoring coming to the forefront, combined with different textured fabrics. Jewellery has a punk feel, to create a contrast with the classic outfits, while handbags and shades work the vintage glamour look.
These days, the business has Lead Creative Designer Sarah Burton at the helm. She’s kept the tailoring lines that the McQueen brand became famous for, but added more feminine touches. Today’s McQueen clothes for women have smart shaping but there are also softer fabrics, more ruffles, and absolutely gorgeous prints.
Fashion graduate Sarah Burton started out as Alexander McQueen’s personal assistant and became Head of Womenswear just three years later. Since then, she’s dressed some of the world’s most recognisable women – including the bride at one of the decade’s most famous weddings…
The accessories have kept the rock-n-roll rebel feel. Skulls, spiders and crosses still abound, made with crystals and chunky silver-effect metals. Look out for the discreet skull embellishments popping up in unexpected places… We love the classic glamour of McQueen’s shades collection, which work perfectly with the tailored jackets and coats.
A different take on stylish clothes for men
Alexander McQueen’s clothes for men blend smart tailoring with tactile fabrics. The designers use mohair, leather and suede to create appealing textures, and there’s an eye-catching range of statement prints. Again, accessories embrace the punky/rebellious streak, and the message is firmly one that men should not be afraid to embellish their outfits, whether it’s with stylish aviators or thong-style bracelets.
We’ve mentioned punk, and this heritage runs through the men’s collection. Skulls, leather and dark-coloured beads play a large part in men’s jewellery and accessories. McQueen’s celeb credentials and connections inject a bit of rock star chic into the blend, and of course, beneath all this, lies traditional tailoring know-how.
His time at Gieves & Hawkes in Savile Row gave the young McQueen a real appreciation of impeccable tailoring, which continues to underpin the fashion house’s designs to this day.
The men’s tailoring combines classic suit designs with unexpected touches. Gently fitted jackets have traditional tailoring details such as notch or peak lapels, stacked cuffs and flap pockets. Then the McQueen touch kicks in with the fabrics, often made from the finest of wools and sometimes dashes of silk, and adorned with bold tartan checks and even statement floral prints.
The finishing flourishes from Alexander McQueen
The clean lines of the brand’s clothes ranges allow you to play around more with your accessories, adding statement jewellery, scarves and sunglasses to your outfit. You could easily reboot your entire wardrobe and accessories collection, right down to your wallet and trainers. We especially love Alexander McQueen’s range of timeless sunglasses.
All the shades have the brand’s logo engraved on their arms, a simple “Alexander McQueen” written in the classic Baskerville font. This subtle signature is another nod to tradition and heritage – and assured quality. McQueen sunglasses are robust and practical, as well as stylish.
The shades for women come in a choice of coloured lenses, from cool blue pastels and sepia-toned browns to warmer pale golds and statement pinks. They all feature UV protection too. Choose a robust plastic frame in timeless tortoiseshell with metallic detailing, or go for a classic, aviator-style thin metal frame for a look that's always on trend. There are plenty of sunglasses to suit your face shape, from subtle aviator-style shades to big, bold round designs.
For men, the iconic aviator has been given a McQueen twist with octagonal frames, giving the classic sunglasses an original look. If you can’t decide between a chunky plastic or gleaming metal rim, try the piercing frame design, which has both. Again, the skull motif features in the sunglasses collection: look out for it inserted into the frames.