McQ a major growth driver for McQueen
During the just-ended London Fashion Week, the new McQ Alexander McQueen campaign was everywhere, announcing the opening of the casual-luxury line's first flagship. Basking in the limelight of the press, the London-based brand also announced the recruitment of Alistair Carr as head of design. This former collaborator of Nicolas Ghesquière recently served a tour of creative duty at Pringle of Scotland until he resigned at the beginning of last summer. So everything is still in the hands of the British at McQ, whose collections through 2010 were manufactured by the Italian SINV company, for which the license has since been sold. Gone is the All Saints high-end approach. McQ is upgrading and expanding its range with a product closer to the signature line. The flagship store inaugurated last week on Dover Street is proof of this change in strategy.
Set up on three floors within walking distance of Acne and APC, the space is the work of Sarah Burton and David Collins, who design all McQueen stores. The flagship aims to be a showcase for McQ's upmarket direction, closer to the legacy sketched out by McQueen himself and chock-full of digital and interactive gadgets. The purpose of this concept is to create an immersion experience into the world of the McQ brand, which at the same time also recuperated the words "Alexander McQueen" as subtitle for the label and logo – just in case the message was not already clear enough. A digital table flanked with digital high tech gadgets lets customers view and play with the looks of each collection. Large mirrors in both the basement (menswear) and on the first floor (womenswear) link up to social networks. Customers can share photos of themselves in an McQ outfit, just in case they cannot make up their minds or simply in search of some viral fame.
In terms of product, the former second line now looks more like a principle line. For the first time this season, it also offers a full range of shoes for men and women, made-in-Italy leather goods as well as a collection of high-tech accessories. These are all product categories conceived to make a room for the line in the closets of clients significantly younger and less upscale than those of the signature line. The brand calls it McQueen for everyday. The line ranges from around 120 euros for a simple top to 2,500 euros for the most elaborate winter coats.
Also on display are dresses from the first – and only – McQ runway show, held during London Fashion Week autumn-winter 2012/2013. The show was a one-off prelude to the flagship opening, since the line's priority is to develop the McQ store network, at least for the moment. The Dover Street store concept will serve as a benchmark for the brand's future openings in other countries. No announcements have been made for Europe, and only four franchises in Hong Kong and mainland China are planned for the next twelve months.
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