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By
AFP
Published
Feb 18, 2010
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McQueen fashion label will live on

By
AFP
Published
Feb 18, 2010

PARIS, Feb 18, 2010 (AFP) - Alexander McQueen's brand will live on despite the suicide last week of the flamboyant British designer, the French luxury group PPR that owns the label said Thursday 18 February.

Alexander Mc Queen
Photo: AFP/File/Ben Stansall

"The Alexander McQueen trademark will live on. This is the best tribute that we could offer," said Francois-Henri Pinault, president of the group, at a meeting in Paris to present company results.

The 40-year-old McQueen, one of Britain's most lauded designers, hanged himself in his London apartment on February 11 on the eve of his mother's funeral and after leaving a note.

He was said to have been distraught over his mother's death and had posted comments on the Twitter web service a few days before his death about his "awful week."

Pinault said that the decision to maintain the label was taken quickly after McQueen's death and voiced confidence that the fashion house continues to hold "big potential."

The Alexander McQueen label is part of the Gucci group, owned by PPR, and has 11 boutiques from New York to London. It employs 180 people worldwide.

Gucci Group chief executive Robert Polet said the designer, full name Lee Alexander McQueen, had acquired solid brand recognition.

"Lee Alexander will leave behind an important legacy that Gucci Group will continue to protect, grow and celebrate," he said.

McQueen's team of creators will finish work on his latest collection which will be presented in Paris on March 9 -- "proof of our deep faith in the future of the brand," he said.

"There is an outstanding team at Alexander McQueen, a team that has enormous talent and energy and a passion that Lee was extremely proud of, and so am I."

Pinault opened the Paris meeting with an emotional tribute to McQueen, saying he had lost a "friend" and describing him as "highly sensitive" and "a unique individual whom we are missing terribly."

Often described as a design maverick, McQueen won four British designer of the year awards.

The son of a taxi driver born in London's working-class East End, McQueen became one of Britain's most acclaimed names in fashion, working as chief designer for Givenchy in 1996 before creating his own label.

Gucci bought a majority stake in his label in 2001 but McQueen retained creative control.

The label went into profit in 2007, according to Gucci, but it is considered a lightweight in comparison to the group's leading brands, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.

Over the past days, sales of McQueen's clothes and accessories have surged, as fashion fans rush to grab mementos.

The designer had a strong following among pop stars such as Lady Gaga who recently donned his towering lobster claw shoes for one of her music videos.

At a British awards show on Tuesday 16 February, she took to the stage to perform her song "Telephone" and told the audience: "This is for Alexander McQueen."

McQueen's death caused shock as the Autumn-Winter 2010 Fashion Week opened last weekend. Vogue editor Anna Wintour called him "one of the greatest talents of his generation."

McQueen was known for hard-edged and sometimes macabre creations that earned him the reputation as fashion's enfant terrible.

He designed the famous "bumster" trousers, which displayed the cleavage between model's buttocks in a parody of the low-slung trousers worn by construction workers.

His last collection, for spring/summer 2010, featuring alien inspired make-up and reptilian prints, was praised as his best ever.

McQueen once described his work as "eclectic verging on the criminal," and spoke in a recent interview of his desire for his clothes to become a lasting brand that would be "here 150 years from now, after I'm pushing up daisies."by Dominique Ageorges

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