Before he went solo, he had a five-year tenure as the head designer for iconic design house Givenchy. Givenchy, known for ultra-feminine clothes and for dressing the likes of Audrey Hepburn, got an infusion of edginess with McQueen, as evidenced with the Fall 1997 collection he helmed.
Never one to just send a model walking down the runway, for his Fall 2003 Paris show, McQueen — inspired by a nomad's journey into the tundra — placed them inside a torrential wind tunnel in hand-painted, billowing fabrics. "As a designer, you've always got to push yourself forward," he has said. "You've always got to keep up with the trends or make your own trends. That's what I do."