McQueen is an enlightening documentary about the fashion designer Lee ‘Alexander’ McQueen, the tailor of humble beginnings, who literally wore his heart on his sleeve.
It’s the thing of dreams. An East End boy with a love of drawing clothes, son of a taxi driver and one of six siblings, who as a man became one of the world’s most celebrated fashion designers.
In fashion, the Brits have always had a reputation; that of imagination, innovation, and unafraid break new ground, one such designer is Alexander McQueen.
His visceral, unapologetic designs evoked shock, admiration, envy, applause. Whatever your reaction, you had one, an emotion was stirred, and for McQueen that was his intention: job done.
I had no idea just how autobiographical and personal his designs were. McQueen would study a subject, then tap into the darkest recesses of his mind, to create bold, courageous garments, which he then unleashed onto the catwalk.
From cassette recordings, archive news footage and the personal accounts from relatives, friends and colleagues, I drew that perhaps for Lee McQueen creating, designing and sculpting with fabrics was a form of therapy. Through working with an assembly of materials (even black bin liners!), he would channel his tormented mind, creating striking garments which were steeped in catharsis.
The film demonstrates as so many before him, the enjoyment is often the journey, only to arrive at a destination that culminates in dissatisfaction and disillusionment.
In style, the film itself is far less experimental than its subject, and is a more traditionally tailored documentary. Its simplicity is fitting, as this amplifies the dramatic life and work of Alexander McQueen.
You do not have to be a fashionista to enjoy this film, McQueen is the story of an artist, but more importantly a person.
McQueen’s clothes made a lasting impression, and so will this film.