Last season, Sarah Burton and her team at Alexander McQueen transformed an old industrial site in London into an otherworldly forest for the first ever McQ show, redefining the second line and making it synonymous with its founder’s home city. Last week saw McQ's London connection deepened with the launch of a flagship store, a three-storey Georgian townhouse on fashionable Dover Street, and Dazed Digital is joining in the celebration with two prize giveaways.
In an interview with Susannah Frankel for Dazed’s August 2012 issue, Sarah Burton explained her new approach to the line: “The main line is elegant, chic, couture. I wanted McQ to have an element of street, past and present – for it to be much more stripped back… There will always be references to surplus, military and sport. It's more throw-on, more everyday and more British than McQueen.”
The store has a strong fetish-inspired theme: even the clothing rails come in the shape of a women's body. Burton and interior designer David Collins have juxtaposed rich velvets, shag carpets and intricate anatomical details with utilitarian elements, and enclosed it all in flesh-coloured Jappaned lacquer walls and a complementing grey exterior. It is easy to imagine that the space might allude to a beautiful dissection of one’s dark subconscious. The full AW12 collection is fully stocked, including key show pieces like the sharp tailoring with cinched waists, full skirts, Scottish tartans, leather and lace.
“Doing that show was about creating a world for McQ, a world of its own, so you knew who the woman was and who the man was, and which world she or he inhabited,” Burton told Frankel. “The McQ girl is slightly younger, slightly less dressed and definitely tougher."
In addition, gesture-controlled mirrors allow customers to photograph themselves in looks that they can then share with friends via social media and email. This retail innovation could also double up as an interesting twist on the McQueen obsession with the human psyche and body, drawing the brand’s familiar themes of fetish and eroticism right into the heart of the store.
From September 20–26, Dazed Digital will be hosting a UK-based competition, with two prizes from the catwalk show up for grabs. Enter the competition HERE for a chance to win a pair of the lace-up boots for women or the black brush-off Chelsea boots for men.
McQ store, 14 Dover Street, London W1