Film Club | McQueen





I watch a lot of films and documentaries but I don't really talk about them much on here - however, I feel differently about McQueen, partly because of still seeing people say 'But wasn't Alexander McQueen a misognist?' (yawn, yawn) and mostly because I just love him.

The documentary is a celebration of his genius but it's also a grim reminder of the pitfalls of fame and the pressure of the fashion world, set to the backdrop of a beautiful score - a mix of interviews, home video footage and news reports it's composition isn't too dissimilar to Amy. I'm a huge fan but I feel I left with a greater understanding of him, so I think maybe it's a good watch for people who perhaps don't like him quite as much. I think they'll certainly see that he wasn't a misognist at all in any case! And you realise how extraordinary his life was, at about my age he was in charge of Givenchy and also running his own label - can you imagine the pressure? It also has really interesting interviews with people like family members and fashion insiders we don't neccessarily hear from often, so it feels even more intimate than you might expect. Fashion loves a myth but it was really interesting to see a more 'human' take - it was really moving and I certainly wasn't the only person who left the cinema crying. It made me even sadder we will never get to see what else he could have done. 

I was quite young when I found out who McQueen was and by then he was doing what would be his final collections, but he still had a profound impact on me. Growing up, I felt like my love of fashion and all the joys of CF (multiple surgeries, various scars, being attached to bits of plastic at all times, relying on tubes, plus metal rods in my back from scoliosis just to name a few) didn't sit that comfortably together. Add that with all the normal insecurities of a teenage girl and well, let's just say I never felt very 'pretty' or conventional. 

I remember being about 13 and watching Fashion TV and they showed a clip of McQueen's 2001 'Voss' show and I just remember thinking 'What the fook is all of this?' So I YouTubed it and spent the next few hours glued to the computer watching past collections, falling completely in love. I used to love Chanel, Dior, Valentino, which were often quite traditionally feminine. But here was a designer finding beauty in the 'grotesque' as it were, suggesting that these things weren't actually 'ugly'. 

To me it wasn't about glamourising things like hospital stays and IVs and decaying lungs but more about acceptance - I couldn't change the fact I had to be attached to tubes but what I could do was to try and see them in a different light. It comes down to that whole thing of not being able to control your circumstances but being able to control how you feel about them. In time, although I didn't and don't enjoy all the medical treatment I have to have I can see them as at least being interesting and I can appreciate how fascinating it all is when I think about how something may work. 

Of course it's not solely down to McQueen that my feelings changed but his attitude towards the mundane, about emotions - it all resonates. I really admire how confrontational he and his work was, so unequivocally him. I now don't water down or hide aspects of myself, particularly when it comes to my health. I can be annoyed at the situations CF has put me in, but equally I can look at my scars and think that actually, they're 'fuckin' wicked!' 





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