McQueen: Film Review

I wasn’t interested by fashion until a few years ago so I didn’t really have much of an idea of who Alexander McQueen was before his death in 2010, so this documentary gave me a fascinating insight into the tragic life of the designer.

The documentary is largely told through old home videos and interviews with his family, close personal friends, boyfriends and work associates. It tells the story of East End boy Lee and how he learned his trade at various tailors before signing up to Central St Martin’s design school, where he was discovered by Isabella Blow. We follow him as he becomes increasingly successful and notorious for his unapologetically provocative and dark designs while at the same time being unhappy with his newfound fame and wealth, which he eases with drugs.

The documentary is structured in ‘tapes’ named after his catwalk shows and this was a wise idea because it made it easy to follow and mapped his personal downfall against his professional success. The makers Ian Bonhote and Peter Ettedgui manage to find people really close to him to open up about him in extremely candid and revelatory ways, offering compelling comment on the story of his life.

It is inspirational story in the beginning – McQueen didn’t let his background or lack of funds impact his dreams – he made it happen with hard work, making great friendships and connections and having the talent. But it is also extremely heartbreaking seeing how he couldn’t cope with the adulation and became someone far removed from who he was.

I knew a fair bit about his designs as I attended the recent Savage Beauty exhibition and it inspired me to read into him more, but I still learned many new things about Lee as a person with this engrossing yet sad documentary which will leave you appreciating his talent.

In cinemas Friday 8th June 

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