I approached this film with the same level of trepidation as when the the Whitney documentary started rolling. You know you will cry, but before that sense of dread can envelope you, a stronger sense of awe saunters in, and suddenly being educated in style wins the day. McQueen is exactly my kind of hero, punk to the core, right to the end.
This is a groundbreaking portrait of a complex, fiercely talented, intensely pained person who I didn’t properly appreciate while he lived. I wasn’t always so into fashion history, but films like these make it easy to appreciate and weep over a brilliant genius at work. At times throughout the film you feel like you’re literally watching ghosts dance across the screen, as archival footage of Isabella Blow plays with her mouth covered by one her most ostentatious hats, as she rains praise on McQueen’s talent, her life changing discovery of his creations, his heart and their seemingly forever kind of kinship. The whole film is bound seamlessly with strikingly stunning animations of some of the designer’s most iconic style moments. The skull, the tartan, the decadent gold flourishes.
McQueen chronicles the rebellious and extraordinary life of Alexander McQueen, with glimpses of rarely seen, deeply personal footage of moments that everyone in frame thought might go on forever, but as we now know, nothing can or ever will stay the same for too long. People are complex creatures, and sometimes fatally flawed.
The youngest of six children, Lee Alexander McQueen was expected to become a worker like his Dad – a plumber, bricklayer or a cab driver. That a lad from the East End of London could become one of the most original and influential artists of the 20th Century, defied expectation, and the film shows McQueen’s life as a complete wholly epic tragedy. Through exclusive interviews with McQueen’s closest friends and family the audience engages with the ups and downs of his tumultuous career, but ultimately reveals McQueen’s legacy as an unmatched talent who expressed his darkest fantasies and greatest ambitions through his revolutionary designs and runway shows.
McQueen’s fierce romanticism and punk poetry helped create 1990s-era ‘Cool Britannia’.
I don’t want you to walk out feeling like you’ve just had Sunday lunch. I want you to be repulsed or exhilarated, as long as it’s an emotion. – Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen was one of the most original and influential artists of the 20th Century. The portrait of a fashion visionary, McQueen, is in Australian cinemas September 6. For cinemas and session times, check here.
Seen at top: Alexander McQueen by Ann Ray. All Images supplied.