Preview: new Alexander McQueen book

His biographer on what to expect

'There’s stuff in this book that no one’s researched before, and photos and drawings no one has ever seen before.' That's fashion historian Judith Watt talking about her new book, Alexander McQueen: The Life and the Legacy, released tomorrow, which promises to be the most in-depth look at Alexander McQueen's life and work yet.

Speaking to Fashionista.com, she said, ‘It’s about his life but it’s not a biography. It’s about the importance of his work and the life behind his work.’

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Before studying fashion at Central Saint Martins, where Watt also works, McQueen had already trained at Anderson & Shephard and Gieves & Hawkes on Savile Row, as well as at Angels and Bermans, a theatrical costumiers. He then assisted Koji Tatsuno, a designer who also had his roots in tailoring. He also worked in Milan as Romeo Gigli's design assistant.

Asked about McQueen's reputation, Watt said, ‘[He] was very, very good at spinning. He knew the importance of spin… and when he began to make his name fashion had gone through a tremendous lull. He was extremely ambitious – by the time he decided he wanted to be a designer, he really wanted to be a designer. He knew he had to make a kind of profile for himself.’

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She added, ‘[He] was looking for greatness. I think he was that determined from childhood to be special.’ She continued, ‘I want people to respect him, because he had a tragic end and he shouldn’t have because he was a truly great talent.’

She hopes that the book will help redress that balance. ‘I want people to get the scale of him, the scale of his ideas,' she said. 'There are a handful of truly great British designers, and he’s one of them.’

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