McQueen Heads West

Alexander McQueen is moving west of the Rocky Mountains.

LONDON — Alexander McQueen is moving west of the Rocky Mountains.

This story first appeared in the December 5, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The London designer has two new units planned: Las Vegas, which will open a few days before Christmas, and Los Angeles, which opens in April.

“It’s the right time for us to strengthen our presence in the U.S., which has always been an important market for Alexander McQueen,” said Jonathan Akeroyd, chief executive of the Gucci-owned fashion house. “New York already performs very well, and we want more of a branded presence in the U.S.”

Both stores have been designed by William Russell and resemble the McQueen flagships in New York, London and Paris — which all look as if they’ve been carved from a hollowed-out block of white stone.

The Las Vegas unit will span 2,600 square feet and will be located at the Wynn Las Vegas Esplanade. It will be one floor, and carry the women’s, men’s, accessories and eyewear collections. The store opens Dec. 22.

Akeroyd said the brand already had a strong relationship with the Wynn; the collection was already selling at the Wynn’s multibrand designer store. “And we wanted to roll out from there,” he said.

In Los Angeles, the 3,100-square-foot store will be located on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Melrose Place. It is a new build. The storefront is glazed and rounds the corner with a curved, glass window, maximizing the light. There is also a large skylight at the entrance. There is private parking, a private entrance and a VIP fitting room.

Akeroyd said L.A. was a “logical move” for the brand because of its West Coast client base and regular celebrity dressing.

He added there were no more stores planned — at least for the moment — in the U.S. or abroad. In September, McQueen opened a 4,000-square-foot franchised store in Moscow, with local partners The Arts Group.

Although Akeroyd would not disclose sales figures or projections for the new stores, he did say accessories now account for 30 percent of total sales, with the rest coming predominantly from women’s ready-to-wear.

“We only really launched shoes and bags three years ago, but it’s becoming a key part of our business, and we hope the new openings will help continue that trend,” he said.