McQueen: The man who kept London on the map

A new documentary aims to explore the legacy of one of Britain's greatest fashion designers, Alexander McQueen.

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His creations were among the most highly applauded by both critics and the public and his death was one of the biggest tragedies to hit the fashion industry. Lee Alexander McQueen (1969-2010) was a genius among the geniuses and now his life, work and death will be brought, once again, to the big screen.

McQueen will receive its world premiere on Thursday 7th June at a very special event hosted by London’s Picturehouse Central. Alongside the screening will be a live Q&A event with family members Janet and Gary McQueen, close friend and first assistant designer Sebastian Pons and Detmar Blow, friend and husband of Lee’s mentor and muse, the late Isabella Blow.

As a self-described ‘unremarkable’ working-class boy from East London, he harnessed his demons and went on to become a global one-man fashion brand and one of the most iconic artists of the century. He was a punk rebel, and it was the legacy he left behind that consolidated the reputation of London as an influential world capital in fashion. If London’s fashion story began with Mary Quant, continued with Vivienne Westwood and, later John Galliano, McQueen’s legacy was to ensure that London would remain transcendental, even essential, for fashion in the 21st century.

Portraying his life from his debut collection through to the tragedy of his premature death, McQueen is a film that evokes his unique vision, originality and maverick sense of humour. The talent of Alexander McQueen was unmatched. His exceptional skills for cutting and tailoring defined his entire career. He cared about modifying and embellishing the female silhouette. Throughout his life, he maintained an interest in nature and the natural world that led him to challenge the rules of the catwalk game. All his designs were theatrical and provocative; he took care of them with passion. Like princely excursions, each show had the intensity and focus of a theatrical production, often with six or seven hundred people involved in the final phase. He was a director and his collections were frequently presented in three acts.

A director, a fashion designer, a poet, an artist and a creator of shows, the most important thing about McQueen was that all the disciplines of art inspired him. He expanded our vision of fashion’s potential and it is this transformative impact of his personality and his work that is captured in never-before-seen home videos, audio tapes and ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage shot throughout his career. Through deeply personal interviews with close friends and family McQueen aims to take the viewer on a journey into the legendary provocateur’s mind.

McQueen opens nationwide June 8th.

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