The highly-anticipated store is open for business
Stylish. That’s the word that springs to mind when stepping into the new Alexander McQueen menswear store. The label is big — even more so since its creative director, Sarah Burton, designed Kate Middleton’s wedding dress last year — so you might be surprised, then, to hear that its new store is the label’s first flagship for men. Over the years the brand has admittedly put a lot more energy into its womenswear offerings but with the new store comes a renewed emphasis on men, something that has been long overdue.
And loyal McQueen enthusiasts won’t be disappointed. The new space, designed by Burton and David Collins Studio (the company behind The Wolsely and Nobu), goes a long way in articulating the menswear message – something the brand has struggled with in the past – and the offering is good. The autumn/winter collection moves away from trends, towards a greater focus on timeless pieces. The new look is slick, less fashion-boy and more City spender, which is a prerequisite considering the increased prices. But don’t worry, just one look at the increased quality and craftsmanship of the collection makes the price-hike justifiable.
While the store perfectly reflects this more grown up feel, don’t get me wrong, it’s not stuffy – far from it. Instead it feels authentic. The floors, for example, are lined with parquet flooring that has deliberately been worn in to give a relaxed, lived-in feeling. Behind the entry area, the clothes are arranged down a red carpet in military precision, almost as if the clothes are standing on guard, which is fitting considering that military references have long served as a source of inspiration for the label’s tailoring.
But new look aside, the location is an interesting one. Rather than following in the footsteps of brands like Burberry, which has just opened a high-tech store on Regent Street, the new McQueen store is a fitting homage to the past. Late designer Lee McQueen worked on Savile Row before founding the label in 1992, so to some extent, the store feels like quite the homecoming. Hopefully this is just the start of great things to come for the menswear line.
“Now that’s one really nice-looking store,” I overhead a passer-by say as I left the preview. What more could you want?