Sarabande was set up by the late designer, Lee Alexander McQueen, who left the majority of his estate to support creative and visionary talent. In addition to providing scholarships and studio space for artists, Sarabande produces a number of events, from the practical to the inspirational.
Lee Alexander McQueen
In 2006 Lee Alexander McQueen CBE established Sarabande, named after the SS07 show, a charitable foundation with the ambition to support the most creatively fearless minds of the future. To date, Sarabande has nurtured more than 85 artists and designers, and supported tens of thousands more through a pioneering public programme of events.
Lee McQueen was born in London on March 17th, 1969, the youngest of six children. He left school at the age of 16 to begin an apprenticeship first with Anderson & Sheppard and then at Gieves & Hawkes on Savile Row in London. After persuading his way onto the MA Fashion Design course at Central Saint Martins, Lee showed his MA collection in 1992, which was bought in its entirety by Isabella Blow. He founded the Alexander McQueen label in 1994 and grew it to become one of the foremost creatively led fashion brands in the world. Lee’s collaborative spirit was essential to the brand’s success. He sought out and invited fellow artists, artisans and creatives to work on collections, shows and campaigns. This merging of skills and visions allowed Lee to continually push the limits of fashion and expand its relevance, artistry and meaning.
Sarabande’s support is offered in three core ways – scholarships to study at top level institutions in London, a subsidised studio programme with bespoke mentoring, and a public programme of on-site events for the wider creatives industries.
Photograph by David Bailey
Sarabande Foundation was established because Lee passionately believed that creative minds with the potential to push boundaries should be given the same opportunities he’d enjoyed.
Sarabande is there to observe and facilitate – the partners and friends of Lee are there to guide and inspire.
The genesis of all Lee’s achievements was his open-minded approach to absorbing diverse creative influences and applying them in new and exciting ways. It is that openness and bravery that Sarabande seeks to inspire in future generations of creatives.
'Death's-head hawkmoth’ by Nick Knight
Sir Antony Gormley, Artist
We were touched by the clarity and pragmatism of your building and the spirit that it contains.
Andrew Bolton, Curator-in-Charge at the MET Costume Institute & Sarabande Patron
The work you're doing with Sarabande is so inspiring.
Sam Taylor-Johnson, Artist, Film Director & Sarabande Patron
That his legacy supports a charitable foundation for artists and designers means he is alive through the work he supports.
Christian Hemmerle, Jeweller
It is truly amazing what the foundation is doing.
Sarah Burton OBE, Creative Director of Alexander McQueen & Sarabande Patron
Lee really did believe in young people and helping them to realise their dreams, and the creative professions, but maybe fashion most of all, rely heavily on renewal and fresh talent.
What an incredible place - and such an honour to be able to see into all of your artists' respective universes!
Shaun Leane, Jeweller & Sarabande Patron
[On Sarabande Studios] there’s an energy and passion that reminds me of Lee’s old studio.
Maggi Hambling CBE, Artist
“You [Sarabande] are doing an amazing job.”
Nick Knight OBE, Photographer & Sarabande Patron
On choosing Rosa Uddoh a scholar - “she seemed to be creating a whole new way to talk about feminism and race.”