Influential British fashion designer Alexander McQueen was found dead in his London home this morning. He was 40. Cause of death was apparently suicide, but police have not commented yet.
He was slated today to present his contemporary McQ line’s Fall 2010 collection for the opening day of New York Fashion Week; the word at Milk Studios suggests the show is still on the show has been cancelled.
Born Lee Alexander McQueen on March 17, 1969, the designer was a graduate of the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. He achieved instant fame in the mid-’90s when his complete graduation collection was bought by fashion stylist Isabella Blow.
McQueen was appointed head designer of couture label Givenchy in 1996 (succeeding John Galliano) and left to begin his own line in 2001; his controversial, elaborate runway conceits (including the infamous “Highland Rape” collection) earned him the reputation of fashion’s “l’enfant terrible” in the British press.
Between 1996 and 2003, McQueen won the British Designer of the Year award four times, one of the youngest designers ever to do so. His later collections were known for a punk-rock aesthetic, including a very successful diffusion line with Target inspired by British band the Duke Spirit.
McQueen’s death comes just days after the death of his mother, Joyce, and three years after the suicide of his mentor and friend, Blow. He was also scheduled to present his namesake line’s new collection at Paris Fashion Week on March 9.
A statement was released this morning on his website: “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. 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. Lee’s family has asked for privacy in order to come to terms with this terrible news and we hope the media will respect this.”