Alexander McQueen knows how to make an entrance. The British designer heralded his arrival on Los Angeles' luxury retail landscape with his signature flair — installing a 9-foot-tall sculpture of a naked man that pokes through the roof of his flagship on Melrose and Orlando Avenues, which opens today.
"Angel of the Americas," the stainless steel sculpture by artist Robert Bryce Muir, is suspended vertically from a circular skylight. Its head, outstretched arms and torso are visible above the structure's rooftop, the lower body of the anatomically correct work is suspended above the selling floor.
"L.A., like London, has so many art collectors and I wanted to give a focal point to the store," McQueen told WWD. "I was also inspired by the Jesus Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro. Los Angeles is the City of Angels and I wanted something to reflect that."
A billboard above the store (now featuring a cell phone ad) is to serve as an unlikely canvas, showing work by collaborating artists.
The 3,100-square-foot space is sleek and futuristic — architect William Russell's signature — with a curved exterior facade and few straight lines inside. Hand-smoothed white plaster walls arch into cathedral-like vaulted ceilings, and clothing racks and display cases hanging from the ceiling give an ethereal floating effect to the fixtures.
Huge curved glass doors and curved windows bring a soft natural light into the space, which features muted tones and floors of gray terrazzo marble inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Two bonsai trees that partly shield the windows are among the landscaping touches inspired by McQueen's Buddhist beliefs. The store's cash registers, speakers and ventilation are hidden.
The curving interior walls lend a seamless feel to the space, which McQueen's creative coordinator, Trino Verkade, said was paramount to the brand's edgy artistic disposition.