McQueen's fashion house will live on

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Gucci Group chief vows to protect designer's legacy

Alexander McQueen's eponymous fashion label will live on despite the lauded designer's suicide last week and a history of troubling debts that have left his clothing brand struggling to turn a profit.

François-Henri Pinault, head of the French luxury group PPR which controls the McQueen label through its Gucci Group, announced yesterday that continuing the British designer's legacy would be the best possible tribute to a man he described as a genius, poet and friend. "The Alexander McQueen trademark will live on," he said during an emotional press conference. "This would be the best tribute that we could offer to him."

The news will come as a brief moment of relief for London Fashion Week which kicks off today under the gloomy shadow of McQueen's death. An inquest this week heard how the 40-year-old was found hanging in a wardrobe in his Mayfair flat with a suicide note nearby on the eve of the funeral of his mother, Joyce.

McQueen won British Designer of the Year four times and over the past decade became one of the world's most talented designers. But despite achieving widespread popularity and respect within the fashion industry, his clothing brand struggled to establish itself financially.

It was only in 2006, five years after the label was originally set up, that the fashion house managed to turn a profit. An analysis of the British wing of the global label, meanwhile, showed liabilities totalling more than £32m. The label owns 11 boutiques and employs 180 people worldwide.

A number of well-established fashion houses, such as Dior, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, have continued to thrive without their creative founders but survival is by no means guaranteed.

Early indications suggest that McQueen's death is likely to lead to a huge short term increase in sales as fans rush to snap up his creations. According to the trade magazine Drapers, sales of McQueen clothes have soared by 1,400 per cent. But whether the fashion house will survive without McQueen in the long term remains to be seen.

As he announced PPR's profits from 2009 (which rose by 6.9 per cent largely due to the sale of its distribution business in Africa), M. Pinault paid tribute to McQueen's contribution to the world and promised to continue his brand.

"His art went beyond the fashion world," he said. "He had a great command of technique... he hid behind an armour of provocation. Fashion has lost one of its extraordinary people. He was one of the falling stars that comes across our generation."

The PPR head also alluded to McQueen's recent psychological struggles describing him as "hurt and lost in a world whose superficiality and lack of ideals he couldn't accept."

Robert Polet, president and chief executive of the Gucci Group, said the autumn/winter collection that the designer was working on before his death would be shown at Paris Fashion Week next month. But he said it was too early to think about new design teams when McQueen's family and colleagues were still mourning.

As the great and the good of the fashion world shift their attention from New York to London this week, McQueen's death will undoubtedly dominate conversation throughout the shows.

The British Fashion Council, which hosts London Fashion Week, has mounted a tribute wall where visitors can leave notes and flowers. The wall is set up in the main tent at Somerset House.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?