Alexander McQueen will in German cinemas from Nov 29th - but has already been published internationally

Queen Of Hearts

Visionary, genius, and extremely talented as designer, fragile, impulsive yet warm in his personality: Alexander McQueen, who committed suicide in 2008, was a strong character in every role of his life.

British directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui are telling the story of Alexander McQueen in a personal and touching way – highlighting his impressive talent , his friends and family and quite as well as dramatic moments of the designer’s life.  One can almost feel the drive behind McQueen’s ambition do fight the bougieness of the fashion scene, but also the deep sadness that surrounded and still surrounds his persona. This is a truly touching film which is more than a documentary; it is a story about an extraordinary personality.

After show: Alexander McQueen and his muse Kate Moss
Final touch: McQueen adding final touches during his time at DIOR

Laura Dunkelmann: Do you consider the movie a fashion film?

Ian Bonhôte: We never thought that “Alexander McQueen” is a fashion film. We thought of it more as a film about an extraordinary person.

Peter Ettedgui: It was never really about the brand. It was about the man.

LD: It is not an easy story to tell, it’s strong in emotions, aspects but also visuals, even if it’s not a fashion film, it includes the shows…

PE: This was a very special film to make. When we started, we didn’t have any material. We only had our own passion for the subject. We wanted to create different chapters. We knew what kind of material we wanted but it was very hard to find it. The brand “Alexander McQueen” didn’t want to be involved in the film. They didn’t help us. And a lot of people from the fashion industry heard that the brand didn’t want to be involved, so they also said no.

IB: We had the money, nothing else.

LD: And how did you get the material and connections?

IB: Before we had the money, we reached out to the family and brand. We wanted their interest of course. But we wanted to tell the story in a very personal way. It was never the intention to make a fashion film. Those often end up like brand films and are about the colors or the trends of that season. We wanted to create a real story. So we met friends who were close to him from for a long time, from his beginning in the industry. They saw him with a different eye or say they saw a different side of him than other people who met him when he was already successful.

PE: When you start a documentary, it is about getting a lot of information. The process  is very hard. We had to consider: Who are the most important people to feature? Which characters do we want to have in our story? It is not only McQueen, it is also about the relationship to McQueen.

From the beginning we knew what we wanted to show and who he is. There are five chapters in the film and eight shows. Every show has a special aspect and features aspects from his life, and also issues he had to deal with. Alexander McQueen was also a storyteller. Every show told a story.

IB: It is like in a musical, you have scenes that introduce different characters in different moments. And you have the music, which conveys all the emotions. McQueen’s shows were very similar to that.

LD: And what was your visual concept? Thanks to his designs – The story is visually strong, too.

IB: It wasn’t easy. We didn’t have a box full of tapes. A few years ago, there were some big fashion shows on TV in Canada and in the US. We went to the people who were involved. We knew that they have a lot of special interviews. It is funny because they were some small documentaries about him. A lot of footage actually. We also knew that there are some photographers who covered his life. Still, it was not easy to get the material. We also wanted to have some special home videos. We talked to one of his ex-boyfriends. He had amazing footage. It felt like being an investigator. But We worked very respectful, though he is a person, which everybody in the business wants to know. The people have a lot of questions. Everybody wants to know what happened.

Sensible, thoughtful, rebellious and genious: Alexander McQueen

LD: He is a genius – what do you think makes a genius?

PE: The day I started working on the treatment for the film, I saw a punk kid, breaking all the rules, so anti-establishment and I knew: This is the story of McQueen. When I looked at the press, it was all about the brand, the fashion. He created a completely new look. It is all based on the craft – that was so important for him. But no one captured him as a person.

IB: A lot of people think that you are a genius because you are blessed. Talent might come to you – But he would not have achieved all of this if he did not work hard. He was also a businessman.

PE: I would like to tell you a short story: We talked with a few tailors, which were very close to him. Somebody asked what’s the most difficult aspect in tailoring. And the answer was: the sleeve. And a few days later, we were interviewing one of McQueen’s boyfriends and he said that there were a lot of mornings, he woke up and McQueen wasn’t in bed. The first time this happened, he went down and went to the studio and found him. McQueen turned around and said: “Look at this, I need to produce that sleeve, I worked on it all night.” It really shows his passion for the craft.

PE: Alexander McQueen also wasn’t afraid to show darkness. And that is special, because in the business, the most people focus on light and beauty and pretty things. But he liked to show shadows. That was what his mind was about. Sometimes, I ask myself, if McQueen would like to have the film darker or lighter…

LD: Is there one question you would like to ask Alexander McQueen today if you could?

IB: Of course, it would be: Do you like the film?

 

Alexander McQueen's show were a visionary spectacle - from head to toe

Backstage Marc Jacobs SS 19

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