Possibly, to make consumers want the “real-thing.”
When British designer Alexander McQueen launched his eponymous brand in 1992, he was quickly known for exceptional technical skills, doubling with an eye for innovation.
His runway shows, which doubled as performance art, had Paralympian Aimee Mullins wearing prosthetic legs carved from wood, robots spray painting 90’s super Shalom Harlow, and “trapped” models inside a clinical glass box.
Although his dramatic collections and showmanship appealed to the high-fashion crowd (Sarah Jessica Parker, Cate Blanchett, Kate Moss, Rihanna, Madonna, and Lady Gaga are some famous fans), the brand wanted to appeal to a younger, laidback audience.
Minus the drama
Enter McQ: launched in 2006; its first collection offered denim, miniskirts, and sweater tanks for an edgy but not as-risk-taking market. Although it subtracted the house’s recognizable tailoring and glamor, it was accessible. However, the Kering-owned brand is suspending operations.
“As the fashion market is going through fast evolutions, Alexander McQueen and Kering are currently evaluating the future of McQ as a business in its current form. Consequently, commercial activities are suspended for the time being,” a representative of Alexander McQueen confirmed to Vogue Business.
“The company will support McQ employees during this period until a conclusion has been reached.”
The house joins other luxury fashion giants in suspending or terminating their more accessible lines. Last year, Valentino announced they would discontinue Valentino Red by 2024. While in 2015, Marc by Marc Jacobs closed down Marc by Marc Jacobs.
Mario Ortelli, managing director of luxury advisory firm Ortelli & Co., told the publication that it’s a move to let consumers re-focus on the main brand. “The second lines were started in the 1990s to target more accessible price points for the wholesale channel,” she continues.
“Now that major brands control most of their retail and online distribution, they have less raison d’être. Plus, they can confuse the customers and dilute the brand image.”
With an estimated €700 million to €800 million in sales last year, Alexander McQueen probably isn’t making the move to cost-cut. Possibly, it’s to let customers crave the main-brand pieces without cheaper alternatives.
Banner photo from @alexandermcqueen on Instagram.