On the 28th of January the Alexander McQueen brand opened an exciting experimental space in their new flagship store at 27, Old Bond Street in London. On the top floor they have created an open atelier like space that will host a programme of exhibitions, talks and events aimed at inspiring visitors, students in particular. The first installation is called Unlocking Stories, exploring the stories behind works from the Spring/Summer 2019 collection. On display are the processes, stories, teamwork and materials that has gone into the collection, along with some original pieces designed by Lee Alexander McQueen.
Coming into the store there are two options for how to get to the top floor. You can either head up the stairs, making your way up through the levels of the store seeing women’s wear and men’s wear along the way, or take the lift that takes you straight to the top. When I arrived a friendly staffer ushered me to the lift, something that I’d recommend as it gives you a chance to explore and learn about the construction of the season’s pieces before heading down to the sales floors were several of the final products can be seen in all their glory.
The architecture on the top floor mimics that of the lower floors – smooth wood panneling on the walls and ceilings and floor – making for a sleek and cohesive experience. Where it differs however is in its mass of material and items on display, the room being busy with lots to see and explore. There are large bulletin boards accommodating displays of the processes of designing the collection, tables allowing for the display of inspiration sources, a large display case featuring images setting the tone for the collection, pedestals showing technical scaled down paper versions of the collection and racks upon racks of clothing items from the collection at varying stages of development. The space exudes creativity and passion. I loved getting the chance to walk among the displays seeing and learning about the process behind the couture. I especially enjoyed seeing how they told the story of the relationship between fashion as a handy craft and as a technologically reliant process.
Heading from the displays down through the building is such a pleasure as well, the shops architecture is very sparse and minimal, but cleverly broken up with large fabric curtains in the dressing rooms that will be changed up for each season. When I went there were some absolutely gorgeous butterfly wing inspired woven curtains in the McQueen style of the mirrored images of nature. Rich in texture it fits perfectly with the sleek wood panneling and the rough stone podiums.
If you have a chance to head by the space I highly recommend it. A great experience – thank you Sarah Burton and team for the opportunity to see behind the scenes at your process.
27 Old Bond Street, London W1S 4QE
Monday – Saturday, 10am-6:30pm
P.S. Read more about the space here and here. This article from Vogue, offering a look behind the scenes at the creation of one of the dresses from the Spring/Summer 2019 collection, is also really good.
Photographs by Sasha Kirstine Andersen.
Featured photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com