This year’s Tribeca Film Festival has some major fashion fare, like The Gospel According to André about André Leon Talley and McQueen, the documentary that tells the story of the legendary Alexander McQueen, from his East End upbringing to becoming the head of his own fashion house.
“No one discovered Alexander McQueen,” the narrator says in the newest teaser for Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui’s documentary. “McQueen discovered himself.” The story is comprised of archival footage and exclusive interviews with the designer’s friends and family. The documentary will premiere at Tribeca on April 22, followed by a live Q&A with the late designer’s sister Janet and cousin Gary, as well as Sebastian Pons, McQueen’s assistant designer, and Detmar Blow, husband of McQueen’s famous mentor Isabella Blow.
The film’s synopsis says it “offers a vivid portrait of the tortured but inspired auteur’s work and persona.” With dramatic music almost more fitting for a thriller than a documentary, the film strikes the tone of McQueen’s moody, theatrical shows, whether Autumn/Winter 1998’s Joan of Arc-inspired show or Spring/Summer 2001’s mental-hospital holding cell.
This isn’t the first film look at McQueen’s life. Director Andrew Haigh is also working on a McQueen biopic, taking place during the time leading up to the designer’s spring/summer 2010 retrospective. The Ripper is a movie currently in production about the relationship between the designer and his mentor Isabella Blow’s tumultuous relationship, starting with Blow’s discovery of McQueen at his Central Saint Martins MA graduate show in 1992. No one could describe McQueen’s work quite like Blow. “What attracted me to Alexander,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in 1996, “was the way he takes ideas from the past and sabotages them with his cut to make them thoroughly new. . . . He is like a Peeping Tom in the way he slits and stabs at fabric to explore all the erogenous zones of the body.”
The teaser is short (30 seconds) but sweet, and it certainly sets the mood for a film about one of fashion’s darkest, most dramatic figures.