As the world’s fash pack flocks from New York to London in pursuit of the spring ’13 collections, they’re getting full value from their plane fare with a fresh addition to the fashion map. Style lovers, welcome to the world’s very first McQ store.The sideline brand to Alexander McQueen is stocked in 650 stores in 60 different countries but has yet to be housed in a home of its own...until now. Drawing on its British roots, McQ takes up residence in one of Dover Street’s Georgian townhouses, a stone’s throw away from the well-established Alexander McQueen store around the corner. Appealing to a younger demographic, McQ is aptly situated on arguably London’s chicest street — squeezed in beside Acne, A.P.C, and Rei Kawakubo’s Dover Street Market.
“We wanted to create a story and a home for McQ, and the flagship on Dover Street is an extension of this world. The store offers special catwalk pieces alongside ready-to-wear collections in a rich and immersive McQ environment," Sarah Burton, McQ's creative director, says of the flagship.
And rich it certainly was. Juxtaposing elements, the shop plays on boudoir versus brutalism; oxblood-velvet walls contrast against dominant, concrete stairwell; and, crafted finishes are left with exposed steel rivets, whilst luxury shag-pile carpets meet bold utilitarian railings. Said railings, we should add, were designed specifically for the store, reflecting the legs of the female form and the McQueen obsession with the body.
“We looked at fetish. We wanted the home of McQ to be a parallel view of Alexander McQueen, where eroticism is part of the fabric and design that slowly unfolds throughout the store,” says the revered store designer David Collins. More commonly known for his luxury interiors — primarily in restaurants and hotels — he’s set to dabble in retail a whole lot more as he works with Burton in rolling out a string of stores worldwide.
Velvet, steel, sumptuous flocked furnishings…but, the main attraction (as if the fall ’12 McQ collection wasn’t enough to bowl us over) is the techno in-store gizmos. There’s a try-it-on-take-a-picture-and-send-it-to-social-media mirror on both the men’s and women’s floors, which took up much of our playtime visiting. And for really wowing the customers, it's the interactive digital table that steals the store's spotlight. Debuting as the world's first in-store Stikus table, with the design overseen by Burton and Collins, consider this, if you will: A giant iPad inviting you to tap away with the brand’s collections, imagery, and runway shows ‘til your heart’s content, your fingers are sore, and your wallet is empty.
Laters, Somerset House. There's a new hot spot in town. Ahead, a few peeks inside the new McQ on the block.
Photo: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen