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Alexander McQueen Found Inspiration in 'Friends'

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PA Photos/Landov; Inset: Eyevine/Zuma

Alexander McQueen was inspired by a lot in life — his homeland, dark films and memories — but as it turns out, he drew some ideas from the Central Perk crew, too.

“I remember him saying to me, ‘I watched Friends last night, did you see the shirt that Joey was wearing?'” McQueen creative director Sarah Burton recalls in a chat with “But then, he would get a [Jan] van Eyck book out, so it was this kind of mad mix.”

Burton has many fond memories of her former colleague, actually named Lee McQueen, who committed suicide in February of 2010. “He had a hilarious sense of humor, very normal and not fashion-y. And he had a really brilliant, dirty wicked laugh that was kind of infectious.” Even his pup was friendly — though mischievous. “Lee’s dog used to eat my packed lunch out of my bag,” she recalls.

Though McQueen is gone now, Burton is continuing his legacy with critically acclaimed collections and of course, that famous wedding dress. “Lee used to always say that you have to know all the rules to be able to break them,” she says of her design guidelines.

Burton follows other designers for inspiration, too, naming Azzedine Alaïa and Miuccia Prada among her favorites, but stays true to the McQueen aesthetic in all of her work. “Romance has happy or sad endings,” she shares. “And it’s very McQueen to feel that there are two endings to a story.”