2006 : March: "Widows of Culloden" collection debuts. A ghostly hologram of longtime friend Kate Moss, ethereal in a swirl of chiffon ruffles, closes the show. May: Pandora Luxurye spotlights the best of British fashion-including McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, and John Galliano-from the Met Costume Institute exhibit "AngloMania." McQueen and pal Sarah Jessica Parker sport his signature tartan at the annual gala. June: McQ secondary line hits stores. "There's a part of me that is very couture and a part of me that is very street. The main line is more conceptual, this is more cinematic. It's inspired by my favourite underground films. I love road movies, like Buffalo '66 and Paris, Texas, London music, like goth and rockabilly," he tells Style magazine.

Working with McQueen to spin his nightmares into reality was a tight-knit circle of collaborators: the jeweler Shaun Leane, the milliner Philip Treacy, the stylist Katy England, the art director Simon Costin, and the producer Sam Gainsbury. But take away the showmanship, and the clothes still leave you dazzled. McQueen was a technical virtuoso. Boned corsets and structured bodices lent strength to fragile tulle and lace. Coats billowed like the sails of a brigantine. Red-painted glass medical slides made for grimly glittering paillettes on the bodice of a showy ostrich-plume dress. A regal column was fashioned from razor-clam shells.

alexander mcqueen