A Man's Story

A Man's Story


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

With a Savile row shop when he was still in his twenties, Ozwald Boateng quickly found his place in the fashion world. His sharp-cut suits and vivid colours dragged men's couture kicking and screaming into the 21st century and no one looked better in them than the man himself - at a slender six foot four, one of few top designers who could as easily be a model. His grace, energy and passion have made him stand out in an industry known for its jadedness. As such, he's a great subject for a documentary - so it's fortunate that his friend Varon Bonicos just happens to have followed him around with a camera from the very start.

It's rare to see a story like this told completely with material filmed at the time, and such is the nature of Boateng's story that it really pays off. He's an emotional man, a little shy and fragile for all his easy confidence in the limelight, and watching his ups and downs as they happened, with no hindsight until the very end, makes that emotional connection much more successfully. The confidences he shares with Bonicos may not be deep but they always feel genuine, and his natural generosity of spirit is apparent through the difficult moments he is willing to share.

Then there are the clothes. These deserve to be seen on the big screen and will thrill fashion fans. There are few insights into his technique but, when they come, they're worth listening to. Most of what he does is instinctive but the simple rules he uses make good sense and it's refreshing to encounter a figure in the industry who is inspired less by garments for their own sake than by the qualities they can bring out in those who wear them. For Boateng it's all about the people. The ease with which he offers his friendship, balanced with a wariness about his own tendency to be distracted, give the film a tragic undertone despite his upbeat approach to life.

A simple story but competently told and easy to like, this will appeal to fashionistas and curious onlookers alike.

Reviewed on: 23 Jan 2012
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A look at the meteoric rise to fame of fashion designer Ozwald Boateng.
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Director: Varon Bonicos

Starring: Ozwald Boateng

Year: 2010

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: UK

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