Cake & Caviar

McQueen | the documentary

The documentary McQueen got two BAFTA nominations, one for Outstanding British Film and one for Best Documentary. Alexander ‘ Lee’ McQueen was one my favorite fashion designers, his work was absolutely amazing. This man was a real creator, he followed his own path. When one looks at fashion it seems like designs just keep coming back every now and then. It’s just more of the same. This was never the case with McQueen. This man was brilliant, a true visionary, and had a wild fantasy. He was original, creative and unconventional but his work was also very dark at times.

The talent and darkness of McQueen

This darkness led him to create the most stunning designs but it also broke him in the end. Alexander McQueen committed suicide in 2010, at the age of 40. So where did that darkness come from? The documentary shows how McQueen made it, all by himself, from Savile Row to the top of the (fashion) world. I watched the film and it’s interesting but it’s a bit sterile and objective. This is a documentary you watch, not a documentary you feel. But then ago, it’s about McQueen so it’s a must-see anyhow. McQueen was a young guy who chased his dreams and made them come true. He worked real hard, had the drive and perseverance needed, and he took risks to achieve his goals.

McQueen and Kate Moss backstage at one of the shows in 2001

Read the letter written by directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui in which they explain why they made this movie. The docu relies mostly on archival footage and interviews of McQueen’s family, friends and colleagues. Everyone agrees he had enormous talent, even the ones that had a hard time dealing with his character did admire him and his work. If McQueen wanted something, and this would be the case throughout his career, he would go after it, work hard for it and keep going until he made it happen. I have so much admiration for self-made hardworking people who just make things happen. He was one of those.

Autobiographical work

McQueen was and remained an outsider in the fashion world but that was his charm and his strength. He was often called the enfant terrible of fashion. His collections were gorgeous, elegant and tasteful but there was always a shocking element. The iconic designer clearly was a complex man, unfortunately even self-destructive at times. His designs were very personal, very autobiographical. The designer says at some point in an interview in the movie that he can’t imagine the label to continue after he’s gone because the label was so personal – his fashion designs and his emotionally charged shows were inspired on his own life.

Shalom Harlow’s dress getting spray-painted by robots at one of the shows in 1999

The current creative director of the fashion house is Sarah Burton, who was an intern there during her studies. She worked as McQueen’s personal assistant when she graduated and was appointed Head of Womenswear in 2000. And so McQueen’s legacy lives on…

* McQueen is available on DVD and VOD * 

15 thoughts on “McQueen | the documentary

  1. Ik ben zelf niet echt thuis in de wereld van de couture en designers, maar je hebt me wel geïnteresseerd gemaakt door je uitgebreide en heldere bespreking. Jammer dat-ie niet op Netflix staat!

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