Kering-owned, UK-based luxury brand Alexander McQueen has opened its first Canadian storefront at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The boutique features a range of apparel, bags, footwear and accessories.
The 4,000 square foot store’s design was conceived by creative director Sarah Burton in collaboration with the architect Smiljan Radic. Inside, McQueen clad mannequins hang from the ceiling throughout the store which the brand says references the narrative of the runway collections.
Heavy use of wood, including oak and walnut in light and dark shades, characterizes the store on floors and walls. The brand says that the wood in the store was intricately engineered to fit the space with seams barely visible and appearing to be “knitted together”. Changing rooms are located in glass cylinders lined with fabric taken from artwork designed by the Alexander McQueen studio in London, including a central change room that appears to be an art piece at the heart of the store.
McQueen is located in the mall’s former J. Crew space between Montblanc and Burberry boutiques in the mall’s original luxury wing. Retailers across from the new McQueen include David Yurman and Richemont jewellery brand boutiques that include Piaget, Panerai, Vacheron Constantine, IWC, and Van Cleef & Arpels. The neighbouring Burberry store is currently being renovated, as is the David Yurman boutique across the hall. Nearby Cartier and Bulgari boutiques will also be expanding in 2022.
Alexander McQueen fashions are also carried at several upscale multi-brand stores in Canada — Holt Renfrew carries McQueen pieces for women in all of its stores in Canada with a particular focus on the Vancouver location, as well as some menswear. Nordstrom’s Vancouver flagship store features a women’s McQueen shop-in-store. As of December 2021 in Toronto, Saks Fifth Avenue’s downtown flagship features a McQueen women’s boutique on its third level as well as an area on the main floor for handbags. Montreal-based retailer SSENSE also carries an assortment of Alexander McQueen on its website.
Paris-based Kering has four other brand stores at Yorkdale including Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, and Gucci. Saint Laurent opened its Yorkdale location in November of 2016 near the new McQueen storefront. Bottega Veneta opened an impressive Yorkdale storefront in November of 2018 and Balenciaga opened a large flagship in late 2019. Gucci, which operates a 5,000-square-foot concession space technically at Holt Renfrew, unveiled its new location in August of 2019. Italian menswear brand Brioni is the only fashion brand under the Kering umbrella that will lack a standalone storefront at Yorkdale when McQueen opens this year. Kering also owns several jewellery brands including Boucheron which has a presence in a boutique space inside of Holt Renfrew at Yorkdale.
The Alexander McQueen brand operates standalone stores globally in major markets as well as concessions in upscale department stores. According to the McQueen website, most of the brand’s stores are in Asia while others are concentrated in Europe.
In the United States, Alexander McQueen operates 11 standalone storefronts in major fashion destinations, including on urban street fronts and in luxury shopping centres. In New York City, McQueen has stores at 747 Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side and at 71 Green Street in Soho. In Miami, McQueen has stores at the Miami Design District as well as at the luxurious Bal Harbour Shops. Three McQueen boutiques are located in Las Vegas at the Bellagio, Crystals and Wynn retail complexes. In Beverly Hills California, McQueen operates a flagship store at 457 N. Rodeo Drive, and the brand has a location at the upscale South Coast Plaza in Orange County. A standalone McQueen store operates at 58 Geary Street in San Francisco, and in Honolulu McQueen has a store at the popular and busy Ala Moana Shopping Centre. The historic outdoor luxury shopping centre Highland Park Village in Dallas is home to the only standalone McQueen storefront in Texas.
It is not yet known if Alexander McQueen will open any more Canadian stores. The Vancouver market would be the likely next target for a standalone store, as would Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville area.
The Alexander McQueen brand was founded by fashion designer, Lee Alexander McQueen, in 1992. He became chief designer for luxury brand, Givenchy in 1996 and left the position in 2001. He received the British Designer of the Year award in 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2003, as well as CFDA’s International Designer of the Year award in 2003. French luxury conglomerate Kering acquired the Alexander McQueen brand in 2001.
Lee Alexander McQueen tragically died of suicide on February 11, 2010 at the age of 40 shortly after the death of his mother. Early on in his career, he partnered with fashion icon Isabella Blow while he gained the reputation of being an ‘enfant terrible’ in British fashion with designs such as the ‘bumster’ trouser. Blow, a good friend and noted magazine editor, took her own life in May of 2007.
Sarah Burton is currently the Creative Director for the Alexander McQueen brand. She was appointed Head of Design for womenswear at Alexander McQueen in 2000 and in May 2010, she became Creative Director of the entire brand having worked alongside Lee Alexander McQueen for more than 14 years. Burton was recipient of the Designer of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards in November 2011 and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in April 2012 and was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to the British fashion industry in June 2012.