It’s been eight years since the death of revolutionary fashion designer, Alexander Lee McQueen. Although the fashion trends are entering and exiting at a faster pace than ever, no one can ever forget the iconic McQueen shows that transformed the fashion industry with his unparalleled talent.
Directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedguis, the stellar documentary McQueen explores the works, inspirations and inner psyche of the talented fashion designer.
The film is sectioned into five collections, each symbolising a significant moment in the designer’s life. Along with footage of old interviews with McQueen, archival fashion shows and candid interviews of his friends and colleagues, the film also features intimate grainy video footage of McQueen documenting his everyday life in a vlog-esque form. Watching this unseen footage almost felt as if he was still alive.
His tragic story of his death was something that the media heavily focused on. However, instead of only detailing the dark moments of McQueen's life, the documentary reveals the beauty and boldness of his creations, the connections he made in his career, as well as the story behind McQueen’s rise to prominence. Without spoiling too much, here is why he was such a gifted maverick of his work.
McQueen’s collections were sublime and always left you feeling out of breath in astonishment. He always experimented with advancing technologies, silhouettes and subversive themes. He always thought out of the box, creating the iconic 'bumster' silhouette in only the beginning stages of his career.
As a designer, McQueen was daring and as some say, too ahead of his times with his conceptual designs. At the time, many didn’t understand his work. His most controversial collection was the Highland Rape AW95 Collection. The press misunderstood his work and denounced him as a misogynist. However, this collection was an interpretation of England’s ‘rape’ of Scotland and a creative catharsis of his own experiences of abuse—his sister and himself were both abused by her husband when he was only a child. Today, where the #MeToo movement is in full force, McQueen seems to have read the future beyond his own existence.
As he rose to prominence, there was increasing pressure for McQueen. While establishing his own fashion house, he was also appointed the chief designer for Givenchy. In the film, McQueen discusses his struggles that came with his success and how he felt like the whole fashion system was against him at times. This led to unhealthy ways of coping. There has always been a dark side to McQueen, evident in his works. However, his sudden death will always sadden those who respect him.
McQueen remains as one of the most brilliant fashion designers to have ever lived. As someone who is a avid fan of his works, I gained a more intimate perspective on his rebellious and down-to-earth nature. The film not only celebrates McQueen’s talents and accomplishments, but also gives us a deeper insight into what he was like a person.
I would like to thank Palace Nova Cinemas for having us attend the premier of McQueen. It's always nice to support your local cinema and completely immerse yourself with captivating shows of McQueen on the big screen!
McQueen will release on the 6th of September at Palace Nova.
For more details, head here.