British fashion designer Alexander McQueen was found dead in his London apartment this morning in an apparent suicide. McQueen's death at age 40, has discombobulated the fashion world, and left insiders speculating if the recent passing of McQueen's mother brought him to the brink. (Watch a complete retrospective of Alexander McQueen's best fashion show moments.) While authorities look for answers, here's a look back at some of the controversial 'enfant terrible''s most eyebrow-raising runway works:
A disastrous political statement, 1996
McQueen's notorious "Highland Rape" show featured models in torn, disheveled outfits festooned with what appeared to be feminine hygiene paraphenalia. Under critical attack, McQueen revealed that the clothes symbolized the "rape" of Scotland by the British.
Eau de toilette, 1998
Originally called "Yellow Rain," McQueen's Spring/Summer show seemed destined to be remembered for the wrong reasons. But by the time his models were calmly sashaying through artificial rain tinted with yellow light, sponsor American Express had expressed concerns, and the show had been retitled "Untitled."
Grafitti meets fashion, 1999
McQueen's Spring/Summer show concluded in an explosive fashion. As model Shalon Harlow's spun, arms aloft, on a wooden turntable in an ethereal white dress, two runway-mounted robotic arms sprayed-painted her with splats of black and yellow.
Death match, 2003
McQueen managed to thrill even the "impermeable" Vogue editor Anna Wintour when he staged an elaborate runway dance marathon based on "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" — Horace McCoy's Depression-era pulp fiction novel about a danceathon turned deadly.
Invasion of the hologram, 2006
McQueen threatened to destroy the entire modelling industry when he featured the first-ever supermodel hologram — a state-of-the-art video projection of Kate Moss wearing a white organza gown, encased in a glass pyramid.
'Borat' tribute, 2008
McQueen, seemingly inspired by the comedy "Borat," sent male models down the runway wearing only "mankinis." Critics scorned his overly revealing take on the male bikini: "I hope this trend doesn't catch on, or the beaches could become hazardous to our eyes," said Trendhunter.
Evolutionary shoes, 2009
In a show inspired by Darwin's "Origin of the Species," McQueen challenged models with shoes that gave new meaning to the phrase "survival of the fittest": claw-shaped, 12-inch-tall platform heels designed to resemble "armadillos."