Following a string of fashion documentaries about prolific designers, McQueen is one of the strongest examples of the bunch.
The way directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui speed through Alexander McQueen’s early years seems detrimental to such a tortured subject, but the audience later finds out that McQueen barely had a childhood; let alone a typical upbringing. His window into the fashion industry was a fleeting opportunity he quickly settled into, and he allowed the choice to direct the rest of his life. As a designer, he knew he wasn’t exactly a conventional fit, but he continued making clothes that swam against normality. Deemed as a naughty provocateur at first, McQueen’s subversiveness was turning the industry on its ear. However, he struggled with fame, and his own poverty, and a conflicting personality in the public eye – flaws he decided to channel through his work, which became macabre art as he acknowledged more taboos.
McQueen is a documentary that clings to audiences harder and tighter with each emotional wave. The film successfully portrays Alexander McQueen’s brilliance to industry outsiders while also communicating how receptive the British designer was to those who accepted him into their lives. The friendliness and gratitude Bonhôte and Ettedgui tap into feels genuine, and nicely balances out the other side to the coin which sympathetically elaborates on Alexander’s heartache. This is all packaged within a hyper-stylized presentation that attributes to the designer’s gothic fascinations.
While an enduring watch, McQueen is absolutely worthwhile.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie