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1990s grunge inspires the diffusion brand’s last collection to be overseen by Lee Alexander McQueen

Grunge, layering, patchwork, raw edges, military, dip-dye, floral and DIY are the key references for autumn 10 at McQ, the diffusion line of the Alexander McQueen label founded by designer Lee Alexander McQueen, who died in February. The collection, the last to be overseen by McQueen himself, has a lived-in, nonchalant feel reminiscent of US college youth and nods to early 1990s rock music influences from bands such as Nirvana and Sonic Youth.

Key womenswear pieces include a fleece wool handkerchief coat, a fitted wool blazer with pleating detail on the waist, and Fair Isle knits. Jersey dresses with cape detail on the back reference archive pieces from the Alexander McQueen mainline and provide a link with McQueen’s signature look.

Fair Isle knits are also big in menswear. An asymmetric Fair Isle biker jacket with a rose pattern running through the weave stands out. Down-filled bomber jackets feature a trompe l’oeil tartan gilet and loose-fit floral shirting is inspired by rock icons such as Kurt Cobain. Comfort-fit denims with distressed oil-coloured indigo and oversized shirting echo the grunge theme.

Colours across both the men’s and women’s collections are autumnal, with burnt oranges, deep burgundy, navy, khaki green and taupe, featuring along with staples black and grey.

Pascale Colony, sales director at Fourmarketing, which distributes McQ in the UK and Republic of Ireland, says of the collection: “McQ is more wearable for its customer than the mainline. Autumn 10 is the most complete collection we’ve had; the brand is in its fourth year and has got its own handwriting. The design aspect is edgy but commercial, and as well as having its own identity it is still influenced by the mainline, making it recognisable as [Alexander] McQueen”.

The womenswear range took on an additional 11 accounts for autumn 10, including Giulio in Cambridge, Sarah Coggles in York and Kalu in Nass in Ireland, while Cruise in Glasgow, Newcastle upon Tyne and Belfast, and John Anthony in Bournemouth and Bristol are new menswear stockists for the forthcoming season.

For spring 11, Fourmarketing is looking to expand regionally and into Ireland. Sam Whitlock, product manager for McQ menswear, says: “We have an amazing reach in department stores. It is the independents we are aiming at for growth into next year.”

The future creative direction at McQ is still uncertain without McQueen at the helm. Whitlock says: “We are still in the process of restructuring and will announce this as soon as possible.”

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