London and the World

McQueen once said, ‘London’s where I was brought up. It’s where my heart is and where I get my inspiration’. London was at the centre of McQueen’s world.

His family was descended from French Huguenot immigrants, skilled silk weavers who settled in the Spitalfields area of London. McQueen grew up in the city’s East End and left school at 15 to become a tailor’s apprentice on Savile Row. After finishing his MA in Fashion Design at London’s Central Saint Martins, McQueen produced a series of low budget, enthralling and provocative shows set in gritty, industrial locations across the capital.

Although London was often central to McQueen’s creative imagination, he also drew inspiration from a wide geographic area and frequently referenced cultures from around the world. McQueen’s peripatetic imagination took him across continents: North America, Africa and the Far East were fertile sources of creative provocation.