NEW LOOK: Sarah Burton’s concept for the Alexander McQueen flagship stores in London and New York, realized with David Collins Studio, will open this month.

After a refit, the Alexander McQueen London women’s wear flagship store at 4-5 Bond Street will reopen on Friday September 13, the first day of London Fashion Week. Set over two floors and 2,690 square feet, the shop will offer catwalk pieces, ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes, bags and scarves. The men’s collection is sold in a dedicated store on Savile Row.

Both the London and New York stores draw inspirations from real and imagined flora and fauna, the skewed perspectives of Francis Bacon’s paintings of Popes, Surrealist artist HR Giger, Antonio Gaudi’s architecture, 18th Centure salons, Rorschach ink blots, primitivism, the human skeleton and the female form. Nods to McQueen signatures are seen throughout, especially in plaster panel mouldings that echo the curve of the now-legendary “armadillo” shoe from the spring/summer 2010 collection.

In both cities, the new flagships have walls covered with bespoke paneling, featuring wings, shells, cactus flowers, mushroom gills, seahorse tails, corals, anemones and tangled leaves, with tiny skulls and gargoyles nestling in their folds in disrupted symmetry. The pale color palette is predominantly dove grey, flesh, lilac, soft gold, and all the shades of white, while mirrors are gilded silver and gold and velvet-upholstered furniture has solid bronze animal feet, from hooves to claws.

The New York flagship, at 747 Madison Avenue, will replace the original flagship in the Meat Packing District. Set across 3,100 square feet, it will stock men’s and women’s wear, shoes, bags and have areas dedicated to accessories.

“It’s very McQueen to see something from a distance and think it’s one thing and then to look up close and discover something else. It’s important to us that everything in the stores feels very precious,” said Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen creative director, in a statement.

The late David Collins, who died in July, and who created the men’s wear store on Savile Row, said in an earlier statement, “It’s about McQueen as a point of view, the idea of making a dress out of razor clam shells or sheaves of corn, the manipulation of nature to make ornament. We were thinking about eroticism and sexuality. Everything is exaggerated and very slightly distorted.”

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