Lee Alexander McQueen was an unlikely fellow in the world of high fashion. His family was blue-collar, his life quite humble. But for some reason he couldn’t stop drawing dresses, and he started making those drawings into actual pieces of clothing, he found he was quite good. Unexpectedly, criminally good.

MV5BZjcwNzQxMGQtMzJkMy00M2QyLWE0Y2QtZTI0YWY3ZDhiMjFhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTc5OTMwOTQ@._V1_Lee’s flair for the dramatic meant he put on a damn good fashion show. Between his theatrical catwalks and his astonishing creations, he made a name for himself very quickly, very young. London loved to call him their own fashion bad boy, but he was nearly rejected by couture’s real epicentre, Paris, for being of the wrong cut. He was crass, he was lower class. He didn’t look the part or dress the part. Luckily fashion icon Isabella Blow discovered him, and through her, so did the world.

This documentary is extremely well done, each chapter reflects a new “season” or collection of clothing, which he centered around dark, brooding, often violent themes. And as the documentary shows, those themes often reflected his own frame of mind. He was troubled by what he’d experienced in life, and the way he used fashion to work out his mental health was revolutionary but not always appreciated.

The movie gives us a front-row seat to a brilliant but tormented soul who achieved everything he ever wanted but never got to be happy about it. The directors ( Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui) come at their subject from all angles and withsawqs2 impeccable sources to give us a full portrait of a man we previously only knew from headlines. This is more biography than fashion retrospective, but it’s as beautiful as it is well-crafted. Intimate, startling. The title cards alone would make McQueen proud.

9 thoughts on “McQueen

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