Who? Alexander McQueen's shocking catwalk shows, elaborate designs and frequent outbursts have earned him a reputation as a bad boy of fashion. But the person who once wrote obscenities in the lining of a jacket destined for the Prince of Wales, won the British Designer of the Year award in 1996, 1997, 2001 and again this year. His creativity and technical skills have caught the attention of such celebrities as David Bowie and Kate Moss. How did it happen? Lee McQueen, who later changed his name to Alexander, was born in London on March 17, 1969. The son of an East End taxi driver, he was the youngest of six children. After leaving school at 16, he took an apprenticeship at Anderson and Shepherd and progressed to Gieves & Hawkes before working for theatrical costumiers Angels & Bermans. The variation gave him the opportunity to expand his technical skills. Designer Koji Tatsuno employed McQueen when he was 20, and a year later he began working in Milan as Romeo Gigli's design assistant. Returning to London in 1994, he completed a Master's degree in Fashion Design at the prestigious Central Saint Martin's College, where his exquisite tailoring attracted the attention of fashion legend Isabella Blow. She bought his entire student collection and became his patron. Soon after setting up his own label, he made instant headlines with a racy theatrical collection called 'Highland Rape'. In 1996, he was named chief designer for the House of Givenchy. In December 2000, while still working for the design house but feeling creatively restrained, he signed a partnership agreement with the Gucci group, which bought a 51 per cent stake in McQueen's own label. In March the following year, Givenchy announced that Julien Macdonald would be taking over the position when McQueen's contract ran out in October 2001. Last year, McQueen introduced his first perfume, Kingdom, and two months ago launched his first menswear collection. What do the clothes look like? His shows are filled with raw energy. McQueen's clothes are romantic yet contemporary and his sharply tailored outfits are his signature. What does the designer have to say? 'My work is always in some way directed by nature. It needs to connect with the Earth. Things that are processed and reprocessed lose their substance.' Where are the clothes available? Joyce, Central, tel: 2810 1120, and Joyce, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2523 5944.