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Alexander McQueen, the luxury label owned by Kering, has suspended its McQ secondary line that relies on a shifting creative-collective model and is considering closing it, Vogue Business has learned. Sources close to the brand say they understand staff were informed a few days ago.
The Kering-owned megabrand told Vogue Business: “As the fashion market is going through fast evolutions, Alexander McQueen and Kering are currently evaluating the future of McQ as a business in its current form. Consequently, commercial activities are suspended for the time being, ”the spokesman for Alexander McQueen said in an emailed statement. “The company will support McQ employees during this period until a conclusion has been reached.”
The rethink on McQ started before new CEO Gianfilippo Testa joined, a source close to the brand says, but the move will be a high-profile shift to start his tenure. McQ was launched in 2006 for a young and edgy audience, with the first collections including denim, sweater tanks and miniskirts. Production and distribution were brought in-house from Italian licensee Sinv SpA in 2010, and in 2012, the McQ line staged its first catwalk show, which “shook out the key elements of the McQueen aesthetic – the romance, the dark glamor, the mind. -blowing tailoring […] and expressed them in an accessible way ”, wrote Style.com (now Vogue Runway) ‘s Maya Singer at the time.
In 2020, McQ entered a new iteration with a streetwear sensibility, moving to drops called “icons” designed by an “ever-shifted” creative collective with no singular creative director. Recent names include British-Japanese artist Rina Sawayama’s capsule collection Striae and a collaboration with New York artist Kevin Emerson. It also has a separate Instagram account to the main line, with 34,400 followers and the subtitle “a new label, built on collaboration”. It resonates with the brand ethos: Lee McQueen was known for his support of young designers. The Sarabande Foundation, set up by McQueen, also supports young emerging artists with scholarships and studio space. McQ said it was intended on giving collaborators “maximum creative freedom” including model Deba Hekmat, film director Yuen Hsieh and musical artist Shygirl at launch.
Stockists listed on the my.mcq website include Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Selfridges and Lane Crawford. McQ sweat shorts retail for 265 (marked down at $ 185.50) and men’s sneakers for $ 370 on the Bloomingdale’s website. By comparison, there are men’s shorts priced at $ 730 and men’s sneakers at $ 890 on the Alexander McQueen website. “McQ is a small part of the house’s business and probably an even smaller part of its profitability,” says Mario Ortelli, managing director of luxury advisory firm Ortelli & Co.
Alexander McQueen adds to a growing list of luxury brands to review their diffusion lines. In 2021, Valentino announced that it would be terminating its Red Valentino line from 2024. Marc Jacobs discontinued Marc by Marc Jacobs in 2015. “For the major brands, there has been a trend for several years in rationalizing and discontinuing second lines to move towards. one flagship brand, ”says Ortelli. “The second lines were started in the 1990s to target more accessible price points for the wholesale channel. Now that major brands control most of their retail and online distribution, they have less raison d’être. Plus, they can confuse customers and dilute the brand image. “