Black is always more attractive than red when it comes to numbers. London-based designers Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen moved into the profitability zone last year—achieving a target originally set in December 2004 by Robert Polet, chief executive officer of their parent, Gucci Group. If exuberance is a sign of success, it certainly showed in the strong collections of both brands during fashion week. But that’s where the similarities ended. McCartney’s sweaters and dresses were grounded in her cool-girl approach, while McQueen, ever the showman, crafted an elaborate fairy tale. McQueen’s talent may be sky-high, but he wants the industry to know he is a businessman as well as a creative director. Jonathan Akeroyd, ceo of McQueen, said the brand is gunning to reach annual sales of 200 million euros, or $316.2 million at current exchange, within five years. More stores are planned, including a boutique in Los Angeles in April. By next year, McQueen is aiming for a store in Paris.
This story first appeared in the April 7, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Meanwhile, McCartney is opening in Paris’ Palais Royal later this year, and has just launched an e-commerce site in the U.S. Her stores in Beijing and Hong Kong are slated to open this month, thanks to a distribution deal with Lane Crawford, and a Tokyo boutique as well as a presence in India are in the future.