Credit: Rabbani and Solimene Photography/

Alexander McQueen, one of fashion’s most iconoclastic and relentlessly creative designers, was discovered dead today in his London home of an apparent suicide; he was reportedly distraught over the death of his mother, several days earlier.

McQueen, known as Lee to his friends and family, was born the son of a taxi driver in London’s East End, and rose to head one of the few remaining true couture houses, Givenchy, which he did for five tumultuous years. But he was always best known for the designs under his own name: Outrageous, elaborate, almost baroquely beautiful pieces that often felt more like art than clothing.

Unsurprisingly, his famous fans were similarly forward-thinking in their tastes: McQueen loyalists Sarah Jessica Parker, Cate Blanchett, Kate Moss, Rihanna, Madonna, and Lady Gaga often showcased many of his more outré creations, though he also created a well-received diffusion line for Target in 2009, and outfitted American sweethearts like Sandra Bullock (who accepted her 2010 SAG Award for Best Actress in his cobalt-beaded, ’40s inspired black column two weeks ago) and Julia Roberts (she recently stepped out in his sharp, structured shirtdress).

In an era of high-fashion designer as media star, McQueen often preferred to stay behind the scenes and focus on his work, from the meticulous Savile Row-trained tailoring of his trouser suits to the sublimely ridiculous ten-inch stilettos that looked like the claws of a particularly chic disco space crab. He was a true artist, and a rare talent, and he will be very much missed.

Readers, do you have a favorite McQueen look that you are remembering today? If you do, please leave it in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: Rabbani and Solimene Photography/