Every great fashion house has its roots, and for Alexander McQueen, the seeds were sown at Savile Row, where a young Lee McQueen served as an apprentice for tailors Anderson & Sheppard. The skills he picked up along the way instilled a strong tailoring focus in the brand, so it is somewhat of a homecoming that it has opened its first dedicated menswear flagship on the very same street.
Conceived by creative director Sarah Burton as a space 'steeped in the codes of the house', the intimate yet striking interior of 9 Savile Row is designed by David Collins - who is also responsible for the new women's store concept.
A stunning floor of smashed and reassembled Nero Argento marble leads into the main body of the shop, which has retained its original parquet floor. Here, pieces from the ready-to-wear line - hung on a brass rail that on closer inspection is carved like the vertebrae of a spine - preside over a narrow central red carpet, inspired by military parades.
Natural motifs - a strong McQueen theme - are rife throughout. Some are immediately apparent, such as the romantic English country house white panelling (which Burton herself had a hand in casting). Others are amusingly subtle, like a claw-shaped set of cabinet feet, a tiny golden skull, or twisted horn-like cabinet handles.
A giant glass box at the far end of the store marks an exhibition space that is set to host a changing roster of art installations. Curated by Sadie Coles, it currently houses 'Icon', a 2006 sculpture by Sarah Lucas, depicting dancer Michael Clark.
The fact that there are plans for the vacant basement to be turned into a workshop for an in-house bespoke tailoring service speaks volumes about the new direction Alexander McQueen is taking its menswear (which has until now been overshadowed by its showier womenswear offering). Coupled with the fact that the mainline menswear collection is due to show as part of London Collections: Men for the first time next season in January, there's no doubt it's finally getting the focus it deserves.