My Fashion Life visits the McQ Alexander McQueen London flagship store

With a flurry of recent limelight-stealing store openings in London, we were over the moon when we got invited to a rather special one. McQ, the pocket-friendly sibling label of fashion powerhouse Alexander McQueen announced the opening of its first flagship store on London’s uber-chic Dover Street.

My Fashion Life popped over to the store for a low down on all things McQ cool, ogle at the just-in and super lust-worthy autumn/winter 2012 collection and test drive the slick fashion gadgetry that sets this flagship store apart.

Here’s what we saw…

Spread over three floors and located within a Georgian townhouse, the McQ flagship store is a sight to behold. Entering the store is akin to stepping inside a modern boudoir, complete with soft velvet furnishings and ivory shag pile rugs – not forgetting the breathtaking clothes.

Designed by luxury design agency David Collins, (the name behind the extravagant decors at The Wolseley and The Connaught), the evident vibe throughout the store is inspired by ‘surrealism and boudoir contrasted with Brutalism’; something deeply embedded in the language of McQueen.

“Eroticism is part of the fabric and design that slowly unfold throughout the store”, say David Collins of the home of McQ, and as you enter the Dover Street store, you can’t help but notice the thoughtfully transfixing velvet finishes, Japanned lacquer-treated walls and an imposing blood red staircase that looks like it leads to a dark, deep dungeon.

We strolled around the store almost inhaling the McQ collection surrounding us, and pretty much stopped dead in our tracks as we came across a dress version of the silk-tulle skirt Gwen Stefani wore on the October cover of ELLE UK. We were reliably informed it wasn’t for sale (being in the £25K+ bracket), but that didn’t affect our fixation!

During our guided tour of the McQ store, two features particularly blew our minds: the interactive digital table (aka a Stikus table for the technologically advanced amongst us), and the uber-cool gesture-controlled mirrors which left us, well, kind of speechless – and curiously involved!

During a demonstration of the interactive digital table’s capability, we we’re beyond surprised at how easily users could view the McQ collection archive by placing an interactive frame on the table which instantly brought up brand content and imagery. Users are able to move the images onto a large billboard connected to the table which allows the images to be projected in near-life size proportions. Other features allow instant sharing of content via email and social media.

Gesture-controlled mirrors are the answer to our changing room prayers! We’ve all known a time when, on a solo shopping trip, we put on the perfect jacket, trouser or skirt and want someone’s immediate opinion on how it looks. The gesture-controlled mirror allows this by taking pictures of a McQ-clad you, and guided by your hand gestures (a bit like a magic fashion wand!), allows you to instantly share the image with friends though email or social networking sites. Magic, no?

These tech-savvy features resonate with Alexander McQueen’s sibling brand (brought back in house under Sarah Burton’s creative directorship in November 2011), as McQ is the fresher, younger, more digitally in-the-know member of the McQueen house; something also reflected in the utilitarian fixtures, concrete staircase and exposed steel columns so expertly combined throughout the store with the naturally erotic and dark McQueen we have come to know.

Although the visit was strictly for work-related purposes, we couldn’t help but get hands-on with the beautiful offerings around the store! Stocking the entire McQ collection, including full mens and womenswear and some special catwalk pieces, our favourite piece (apart from the silk-tulle dress) was a new season-perfect belted leather jacket with shearling sleeves.

A beautiful store filled with beautiful clothes can only mean one thing: shopping (or browsing) time very well spent.

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