2010 February 18

The McQueen Must Go On

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Alexander McQueen Alexander McQueen
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(NEW YORK) Many assumed that McQueen's suicide last week would mean the end of the Alexander McQueen brand. But parent PPR, who purchased a 51% stake in the company in 2000, have announced that McQueen will not be shuttered. In fact, a collection will be shown in Paris during the upcoming Fashion Week. Robert Polet, president and chief executive officer of the Gucci Group, revealed the news at PPR's annual results presentation this morning.

PPR's acquisition of McQueen enabled the brand to expand into other categories, including leather goods and menswear. A secondary, less expensive line, McQ was licensed to Italy’s SINV. After launching for Fall 2006, McQ failed to gain momentum in the United States; it currently only has 11 retail accounts, most of which are Saks Fifth Avenue locations. Its initial focus was denim, although recent seasons have come to include a wider range of contemporary-priced items. The latest figures identify 2008 McQueen sales at approximately $43.7 million; losses of $3.7 million were related to the opening of stores in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The front rows of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week have already been dominated by talk of the great designer's successor, but for the moment, there apprears to be no heir apparent. While Olivier Theyskens and Gareth Pugh have been suggested to be contenders, their cameraderie McQueen's style of drame may not be enough to sustain a profit-minded PPR subsidiary that needs to expand its accessory business, which only accounts for one-third of the business. Expect more developments to unfold in the next several days.
ASHLEY BAKER



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