Alexander McQueen’s new flagship store at Old Bond Street in Mayfair, London, is better positioned as an immersive experience. Conceptualised by the brand’s creative director Sarah Burton, in collaboration with architect Smiljan Radic, the 11,000-square-foot space is not just a store, it’s a celebration of McQueen’s landmark journey. The strategically placed McQueen-clad mannequins, for instance, reference the evolution of the brand’s runway collections. Seamlessly, the product turns protagonist as it is examined (and admired) from every angle.
The primary material is wood. In the hands of Radic, it appears to transform into a fluid, flowing entity. Light offsets dark, as oak and walnut are used to cover the floors, walls and ceilings—a reimagining of McQueen’s fascination with the lines of the human body.
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The high-on-drama store is spread over three floors: the ground and first floor house womenswear and menswear respectively, while the second accommodates an experiential space designed to showcase archival pieces, photography and artwork, as well as host exhibitions and talks for young designers. This is in line with another core value: to nurture fresh and emerging talent. Glass cylinders hanging from the ceiling appear to bridge the gap between floors and sculptures by Chilean artist Marcela Correa are carefully positioned—almost as though they aim to mark all the important moments in McQueen history.
But perhaps the most wonderful thing about the new store in London’s most famous shopping district is that it is ever-changing and dynamic. Different fabrics will appear as new collections are created; these are developed, under Burton’s watchful eye, to seamlessly become part of the store’s interiors. In this way, the label’s impressive past continues to flirt with its present, a tension that characterises the house of Alexander McQueen.