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This film tells the story of fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen, a young man who came out of blue-collar England and rose to international acclaim and worked as the chief fashion designer for Givenchy and, later for his own brand when Gucci acquired majority ownership. Before seeing the film, I had no idea who he was; after it, I am really glad that I now know. He is one of those people who never looked the part of a fashion designer; he looked more like a factory worker than creative visionary. The way McQueen’s story is told is very moving, using interviews with McQueen, close associates, and family, as well as archival footage of home movies and films of his numerous fashion shows. The use of close-ups in the interviews is particularly effective, capturing many times much more than what the words say. The best part of the film is his art; the film contains clips from many of his most famous fashion shows, and it is clear that he was not just a fashion designer but someone with a creative eye toward merging fashion, art, and technology into visually dazzling (and sometimes divisive) experiences. Big thumbs up for a film that carefully avoids, for the most part, the “artist who tragically died too young” motif by focusing on his art and interviews with the people who knew him best. It also does an excellent job of delving into the psychology and worldview of an extremely creative individual.

About Gary Burkholder

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