When legendary British designer and couturier Alexander McQueen died by suicide at the age of 40, he left a void that stretched beyond the fashion world, which he had effusively decorated with armadillo heels, dresses spray-painted by robots, and scandalously low-cut “bumster” trousers.
In his new documentary, directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui explore the tender yet savage world of McQueen: his obsessions, his passions, his fears. Starting with his debut show, McQueen was labeled an enfant terrible, the bad boy of the fashion scene, refusing to adhere to the tradition of couture and instead reveling in the grotesque and taboo. Iconic style muse Isabella Blow bought out his entire first collection and then took McQueen under her wing, becoming a lifelong friend and mentor and helping propel his vision into the elite fashion world. As McQueen’s star began to rise and he was made Givenchy’s chief designer, the dark side of fame began to take its toll, and drugs and depression came creeping in.
Featuring personal archives of the designer extending back to the earliest days of his career, McQueen chronicles the designer’s journey through footage of his increasingly mesmerizing, radical shows, stitching them together with intimate interviews with close family and friends. The film channels the late designer’s energy with his use of provocative imagery and the rich music of composer Michael Nyman (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover; The Piano), whom McQueen used frequently as inspiration in his work. The resulting film is a passionate, moving look at a complicated genius.
— ELLIOTT BREEDEN
San Francisco Documentary Festival