Alexander McQueen label to stay

The death of British designer Alexander McQueen last week does not mark the end of his label. French luxury group PPR has decided to maintain the brand which has 11 boutiques from New York through London and employs 180 people worldwide.


AFP - French luxury group PPR said Thursday that it will maintain Alexander McQueen's label after the British designer committed suicide last week.

"This would be the best tribute that we could offer to him," said Francois-Henri Pinault, president of the group, at a meeting in Paris to present company results.

The flamboyant 40-year-old McQueen, one of Britain's most lauded designers, hanged himself in his London apartment on February 11 after leaving a note.

He was said to have been emotionally distraught after his mother died on February 2 and had posted Twitter comments a few days before his death about his "awful week."

Pinault said in Paris that the decision to maintain the label was taken quickly after the announcement of McQueen's death and that the fashion house continued to hold "very important potential."

The label Alexander McQueen is part of the Gucci group, owned by PPR, and has 11 boutiques from New York to London. It employs 180 people worldwide.

Gucci Group chief executive Robert Polet said McQueen had acquired solid brand recognition over the past years. McQueen's team of creators will finish work on a new collection that will be presented in Paris on March 9, he said.

Pinault opened the meeting on Thursday by paying an emotional tribute to McQueen, saying he had lost a "friend" and describing him as "highly sensitive" and "a unique individual whom we are missing terribly."

From a humble background, McQueen rose to become one of Britain's most acclaimed names in fashion, becoming the chief designer for Givenchy in 1996 before moving on to his own label.

Gucci bought a majority stake in his label in 2001 but McQueen retained creative control and went on to win four British designer of the year awards.

According to Gucci, the label went into profit in 2007, but it is considered a lightweight in comparison to the group's leading brands, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.

Over the past days, sales of McQueen's clothes and accessories have surged, as fashion fans rush to grab mementos.

Flamboyant US pop star Lady Gaga was a McQueen fan and had recently donned his towering lobster claw shoes for one of her music videos.

At a British awards show on Tuesday, she took to the stage to perform her song "Telephone" and told the audience: "This is for Alexander McQueen."

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