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Neiman Marcus Charity Ball Luncheon Showcases McQueen

The event, which raises about $500,000 for local children’s causes, serves as an unofficial kick off to the fall social season.

UNDER THE BLACK TENT: Neiman Marcus created a suitably moody scene in a black tent lit with a brocade pattern to show Alexander McQueen’s fall collection at Thursday’s 39th annual Crystal Charity Ball luncheon. “I hope you like our couture tent,” said Jim Gold, Neiman’s president of specialty retail, calling it “our version” of glamping. “It took 120 hours to build.”

The event, which raises about $500,000 for local children’s causes, serves as an unofficial kick off to the fall social season and drew 480 well-heeled women, a number of whom donned McQueen frocks.

“It’s really impressive,” said Jonathan Akeroyd, McQueen’s global president and chief executive officer. “It’s great for the brand and the local community, and we are really excited about it.”

The house is well on its way to his goal of being “the best” British luxury ready to wear brand, he said. It’s been on a roll that was virtually unimaginable 43 months ago with the suicide of its namesake designer. But rave reviews for creative director Sarah Burton plus the globally hyped gown that Kate Middleton wore to wed Prince William in 2011 and the record-breaking McQueen retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art the same year have had tremendous impact.

“Over the last three years brand awareness has really been quite incredible,” Akeroyd said. “The business has grown in line with that, so we’re really happy.”

The U.S. is McQueen’s strongest market, accounting for 28 percent of sales, followed closely by Asia and the U.K., he said.

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