Designer 101: Alexander McQueen
Naomi Campbell, Coco Rocha and Karolina Kurkova wear some pretty amazing pieces from very major designers (both established and up-and-coming) on "The Face." We're prepping for the show, which premieres on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 9/8C, by taking a look at the designer labels you'll be seeing on our gorgeous supermodel coaches. We've covered Naomi's friend Azzedine Alaïa, the very posh Victoria Beckham, it-designer Alexander Wang and my shoe obsessions Nicholas Kirkwood and Pierre Hardy. Next up: Alexander McQueen.
Designer: Alexander McQueen
Who Actually Designs the Line: Alexander McQueen (1992 to 2010), Sarah Burton (2010 to present)
Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton attends the 2012 Met Gala flanked by Florence Welch and Cate Blanchett, both in her designs. [Photo Credit: Janet Mayer/PR Photos]
As Seen on "The Face:" Naomi wins for the most McQueen. She dons a wide double-buckle belt, two pairs of sculptural wedges and a gold-embroidered tank and aubergine tuxedo pants ensemble. Karolina gets her chance with a pair of black moto-platform booties.
Backstory: The history of Alexander McQueen is every bit as dramatic and compelling as the designer's breathtaking designs. The line was born when the British designer presented his Central Saint Martins graduation collection in 1992 and fashion icon Isabella Blow bought all of it. Lee Alexander McQueen then continued to blow the fashion industry's collective mind year after year with his spectacular designs—many worn by celebrities on the red carpet, like the tartan overlay one-shoulder gown Sarah Jessica Parker wore to the 2006 Met Gala as his date—and even more provocative runway shows and collections. A sampling: Kate Moss appearing as a hologram, the upper butt crack-showing "bumster" pants from his collection titled, uh, "Highland Rape" and his 2001 performance-arty high concept show titled "VOSS" (you just have to watch it. More Kate Moss!)
Tragically, the brilliant, but emotionally tortured designer committed suicide in February 2010, following the loss of his mother and mentor Isabella Blow. Sarah Burton, who started at McQueen as the designer's personal assistant in 1997, was appointed as creative director later that year. She has successfully continued his bold vision, while injecting her own talent into the line. She was crowned Designer of the Year by the British Fashion Awards in 2011.
Celebs who wear it: You may have heard that Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen designed a long-sleeve wedding dress for a certain Kate Middleton turned Duchess Catherine. The now-royal looks to the designer for many of her high profile events and chose a blush lace overlay dress to attend the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration.
More celebs who wear it: Kate Hudson and Nicole Kidman both wore Alexander McQueen gowns to the 2013 Golden Globe Awards. Cate Blanchett is a devoted fan, although this lilac creation with a molded framed bodice was a polarizing talking point. (I loved it.) Mila Kunis opted for an alluring strapless gown to the 2011 SAG Awards, Lady Gaga posed in a sensational gold and feathered creation at the Bambi Awards in 2011 and Sarah Jessica Parker wore this memorable chartreuse cocktail frock (and matching fascinator) for the "Sex and the City" movie premiere in London in 2008.
[Photo Credits: Kate Middleton, Solarpix/PR Photos; Cate Blanchett, Andrew Evans/PR Photos; Mila Kunis, Bob Charlotte/PR Photos; Lady Gaga, Away!/PR Photos; Sarah Jessica Parker, Solarpix/PR Photos]
The Investment: Show off your curves in a Pre-Spring/Summer collection Gold Geometric Hummingbird Print Pencil Dress for $995 (alexandermcqueen.com) or think about this Dragonfly Print Chiffon Bustier Gown for your St. Barths mid-winter break for $5,395 (alexandermcqueen.com). Want to snag the same exact belt that Naomi wore? It'll cost you a cool $1,450 (marisacollections.com). The skull-clasp minaudieres are a signature McQueen accessory—love the bedazzled Union Jack pattern—and this one is $2,295. A mohawked skull makes an appearance on these studded platform heels, which ring in at $1,085 (alexandermcqueen.com).
Check out more styles at alexandermqueen.com