Feb 17, 2010
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British fashion designer McQueen hanged himself

Feb 17, 2010

LONDON, Feb 17, 2010 (AFP) - British fashion designer Alexander McQueen hanged himself in a wardrobe after leaving a note, an inquest into his shock death last week heard on Wednesday 17 February.

Alexander Mc Queen

McQueen, the former enfant terrible of the British fashion world who went on to find global commercial success with his provocative designs, was found dead at his central London home last Thursday (11 February), aged 40.

The designer -- full name Lee Alexander McQueen -- died from asphyxiation and hanging at his home in London's upmarket Mayfair district, according to a post-mortem examination.

The results of the post-mortem were presented at Westminster Coroner's Court, as an inquest into his death was opened.

"At about 10.30am last Thursday... a man was found hanging in his wardrobe at Flat 1, Green Street, London, W1," said coroner's officer Lynda Martindill.

"On Monday February 15, he was identified as Lee Alexander McQueen, aged 40, born 17/3/69 in Lewisham, southeast London. He was a single man, a fashion designer," she added, in a five-minute hearing.

Representing the police at the inquest -- which was adjourned until April 28 -- detective inspector Paul Armstrong said that a "note" had been found at the scene, which he handed to the coroner for examination as part of the inquest.

From a humble background, McQueen rose to become one of Britain's most lauded fashion designers.

A four-time winner of the British designer of the year award, he designed for Givenchy and was creative director of his own label which was bought out by Gucci.

Media reports said McQueen's mother Joyce died on February 2, and in a comment on his Twitter page days before his death he wrote that he had had an "awful week."

McQueen's close friend and fashion icon Isabella Blow killed herself three years ago at the age of 48. Suffering from cancer and depression, she died after drinking weedkiller having told friends she was going out shopping.

McQueen's unexpected death shocked the fashion world and cast a pall over preparations for London Fashion Week, which begins on Friday 19 February.

Organisers have pledged to hold a "simple and respectful" tribute to the designer, without giving further details.

While he had not attended the event for a long time, he was one of Britain's most famous and best-loved fashion exports.

London department store Liberty set up a window display dedicated to him this week, while similar tributes are expected over the weekend as were seen at New York Fashion Week.

At a charity catwalk show in the Big Apple last week, supermodels including Naomi Campbell and Helena Christensen paraded seven spectacular designs from McQueen's last collection, shown in Paris last October.

Among the first tributes which poured in within minutes of his death was that of German couture legend Karl Lagerfeld, who told AFP: "There was always some attraction to death, his designs were sometimes dehumanised.

"Who knows, perhaps after flirting with death too often, death attracts you," he added.

On Tuesday (16 February) night, flamboyant US superstar Lady Gaga, who has worn many of McQueen's creations, paid an emotional tribute to him after scooping three awards at Britain's top music awards the Brits in London.

As she took the stage to play her song "Telephone", she told the audience: "This is for Alexander McQueen."

Sales of McQueen's clothes and accessories have surged, as fashion fans rushed to grab mementos.

Liberty said its stock "started flying off the shelves," while the Selfridges department store said it had seen a "very significant and immediate uplift" in sales.by Michael Thurston

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