“LEE” Alexander McQueen is a fascinating figure on which to base a documentary. He was an openly gay lad from East London (with Scottish paternal heritage) who dressed and spoke casually, lacked any sort of great academic achievement and spoke not a word of French.

And yet, somehow, he ended up becoming the artistic director of Givenchy, one of the most prestigious Paris fashion houses, in the late 1990s/early 2000s while also running his own successful label in London and being lavished with awards and titles (including a CBE) in the process. All of this before tragically committing suicide at the age of 40.

His story presents a veritable contradiction between the man and the world he chose to inhabit, putting on often incendiary shows that positively shook the fashion world to its very core. It’s this conundrum of a man that this enthralling, respectful yet forthright rags-to-riches documentary explores and wrestles with in all its many, multi-layered facets.

Directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui chuck us head first into McQueen’s world to give us what feels like as much of a fully rounded and exploratory study as we’re ever likely to get. They employ the familiar talking heads style of many documentaries but it never feels overstuffed or over-explained. After all, how could such a talent be explained away in mere words?

All that’s left is the people that knew him – from his family to the eclectic bunch of fashionistas he chose to surround himself with – to try to fill in the spaces of what we don’t know beyond the revealing footage of the man himself.

They provide great value as they give us their own version of how they knew him, lending as much emotional power to the piece as they do factual context.

The film also serves as a great introduction to the fashion world for the uninitiated who may very well recoil in bemused horror, while also giving us a strong sense of why McQueen was such a unique force to be reckoned with – footage of his eccentric shows featuring the likes of robotic arms spraying paint on to a model’s dress or a hologram version of Kate Moss are a sight to behold.

This is a reverent, vibrant portrait of a life defined by an unquestionable and unexplainable talent but also by the anguish of addiction, loss, abuse and the pressures of fame and fortune on someone with a sensitive, fragile mental health state. It opens the intricate puzzle box that was the life of a creative figure whose bold and primal talent made the world sit up and pay attention. By the end it leaves you with little doubt as to why that was.