McQueen – the Film

Have you seen the new McQueen film yet? I saw it recently and loved it. While it’s visually rich and full of detail, including lots of home video footage, it’s hard on your emotions.

If you’re aware of the story of Lee Alexander McQueen’s life it won’t come as a surprise, but it didn’t lessen the sense of sadness I was left with at the end of the film.

The film is a really rounded portrayal of a talented and extremely motivated individual who through sheer hard work and determination made it into positions that would’ve seemed unlikely given Lee’s very “normal” and modest background. That background obviously was the backbone on which he relied to keep him grounded. He was a hands-on designer who knew the work involved in making clothes and so never shied away from crediting the team around him that made his visions a reality.

There is a lot of behind the scenes footage of Lee along with interviews with family members and close friends. A clear theme emerges; Lee had total belief in himself (without the obligatory designer arrogance) and an unquenchable desire to learn and experiment. But gradually the fashion industry consumed him and greedily expected more and more and more.  His relentless work ethic and commitment to keeping his own label solvent and successful (a fact that Lee was clearly and justifiably proud of in a world where fashion labels come and go) took its toll. How anyone could produce 14 collections a year is beyond me, let alone someone as obviously conscientious as McQueen.  

I think the fashion industry as a whole came out of this film pretty badly and I was left with the impression of it as some kind of monster that consumes itself and everything around it – a sort of Fabergé style black hole.

Go watch it, but take some tissues.

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5 responses to “McQueen – the Film

  1. I definitely will be watching this movie as soon as I get a chance. He was such an incredibly talented, creative and inspiring designer, I remember watching his runway shows on tv with my mom when I was a teenager and just being blown away – he was truly one of the greats and what happened to him is just so crushingly sad and wrong.

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  2. I also saw it the week it came out. A fantastic well put together documentary. I also blogged about it.

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  3. truly – I was so conflicted after watching it – it was a wonderful film but it looked like a faustian pact. I was reminded once again of the feeling I had when I dropped out of fashion college – I went in being thrilled by fashion and in a short space of time became disillusioned especially as it all seemed geared to one demographic amongst other things. Now to see that these big fashion houses are like fast fashion feeling they should churn out so many collections….. whats really amazing was that he still produced so much. I didnt know Sarah Burton has been with him so long – so it feels like there is an integrity still to the label.

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  4. I saw this last week and loved it too. The pressure he faced must have been immense. Such a talented individual. Such a loss.

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    • Exactly, I felt so conflicted watching it. In awe of his talent and achievements but very sad and uncomfortable at his undoing by the industry that claimed to love him.

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