Entering an Alexander McQueen store is not just entering one of the most world-renowned fashion houses. It is also entering a phantasmagorical and hybrid world composed of hidden references to flora and fauna, 18th C salon Romanticism, the female body, the macabre, Francis Bacon, Rorschach inkblot test, Antonio Gaudi and HR Giger.

That’s certainly what you will get when you visit the 2,300-square-foot new flagship store which was conceived by Creative Director Sarah Burton and David Collins Studio and which opened at the end of last year in the chic shopping mecca of Bal Harbour in Miami.

Burton stated on the new store concept, “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 store feels very precious.” 

“It’s about McQueen as a point of view,” Collins added. “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.”

Once again, A-Gent of Style fell head over heels for David Collins’ magic touch and the result felt like an assault on my senses…

First and foremost, the palette: an über-chic mix of off-white, black, hints of gold and an envelope of lavender pink.

Two amazing coffered ceilings enwrap the room with layers of subtle light: a spaceship-shaped one at the front of the store with Art Deco moulding and an imposing chandelier composed of delicate pink Murano glass flowers and a more contemporary and curvaceous one at the back with organic contours and a spine-like light fixture. Both of them reminded me of the shapes you would find in the curvy lines of Antonio Gaudi’s architecture and the surreal, nightmarish and fetishistic world of HR Giger and his Alien the Movies designs.

Burton and Collins have used here as well as in their latest store creations the help of Solomon & Wu, an artisanal company that creates bespoke contemporary mouldings. I visited their studio a few months ago after I discovered them at last year Decorex fair on the Fromental‘s stand. I found their work just brilliant and will make a special feature about them very soon.

Solomon & Wu have developed a hugely elaborate and visual vocabulary that incorporates a miniature world made of wings, leaves and scrolls in the confines of a classical panel that becomes the perfect backdrop for displaying McQueen fabulous clothes. They have also developed cast bronze door handles, clothes hooks, feet and legs for furniture in the shape of McQueen’s emblematic skulls but also real animals – lion claws, antelope hooves, gazelle legs – or even imaginary ones.

Brilliantly executed plasterwork that protrudes like an impasto painting and has the similar complexity of the work seen in the facades of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The panels take the shape of wings but also actually incorporate wings along with leaves, flowers and other naturalistic elements. The symmetrical result looks like a Rorschach inkblot test

A-Gent of Style
 has always adored screens in interiors and instantly fell for the majestic Eileen Gray-esque, multi-faceted glass screens that punctuate the store. The dusty pink with a dash of lavender reminds me of The Paint & Paper Library‘s ‘Diva’, the kind of pink you would find in some of Francis Bacon’s paintings. Divine.

Don’t you love the black marble with white veins, perhaps an Empredor, on the floor and also cleverly used on some of the furniture?

“Chic wickedness” doesn’t get any better.

– Thank you to the World Redeye blog for some of the photos –


  • Absolutely Stunning!

    June 24, 2013
    • fabricebana

      Isn’t it just! Glad you like the post. Thanks for visiting back

      June 24, 2013
  • Thank you so much for those amazing and perceptive comments you made, I am very honoured. Sarah Burton is so inspiring and easygoing, we nearly went crazy doing those screens over and over again, but it was worth it.

    It’s also uncanny how you picked up all the references we used, as we concocted dozens of pinks until we created the Francis Bacon shade we were looking for , we wondered if many people would actually notice , but we didn’t care though it is not always the point ……

    Sometimes to capture the spirit the has to be beguiled……

    Many thanks,

    David Collins.

    June 27, 2013

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