Alexander McQueen may be considered the bad boy of the fashion pack, but aside from his beautiful and high-end creations, he is a savvy businessman.
McQueen knows that what is commercial is not always cutting edge or magazine-worthy. And he also knows that his signature detailing can be easily translated from couture to high street and be successful without hurting his mainline namesake.
While some designers tend to recoil from the concept of a diffusion range (they can be an uncomfortable reminder that a fashion designer is not an artist but a manufacturer of commercial goods) Alexander McQueen this week joined the growing number of designers who are launching cheaper lines when he showed his new brand, McQ in Milan.
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“McQueen does not want it to be avant garde; McQ is supposed to be more commercial,” said his spokesman in IHT.
The collection will go into stores around the world this summer and prices range from £35 for T-shirts to £350 for lined leather bomber jackets. Instead of just being jeans and T-shirts, the collection is a clever, if somewhat watered down, run-through of McQueen’s best known pieces.
Inspired by 60s bikers, there are some excellent fitted leather jackets, a beautiful and very McQueen dress with body swooping seams and heavy stitching up the front, and dramatic capes for women and particularly bold men.
McQueen will be hoping for the kind of success Marc Jacobs has had with his diffusion line, Marc by Marc Jacobs, which has brought the American designer to a wider audience and is one of the most popular lines in department stores around the world, including Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. McQueen’s clothes have always had youth appeal, so to make them more affordable to a younger audience makes obvious commercial sense.