McQueen In-Store Art Show Fronts Frieze Sponsorship

Alexander McQueen activated its new role of Associate Sponsor for Frieze London 2013 with in-store art exhibitions curated by London gallery owner (and Frieze London exhibitor) Sadie Coles.


The partnership for the 11th edition of the leading contemporary art fair brings together two UK creative leaders who believe in supporting and promoting contemporary creativity and sees the fashion designer host art presentations though Frieze week.


During Frieze McQueen men’s store was home to an installation by Don Brown, while its women’s store hosted a sculpture by Jim Lambie.


According to Sadie Coles, Don Brown’s combination of classical perfection and personal reference dovetail with McQueen’s.


‘Many of his fashion show presentations have included isolated female figures (in boxes, as holograms, as dancers, as canvases to be painted) and this figurative sculpture emphasises the objectified female in fashion,’ Coles adds. ‘That is why it is in the women’s store!’


‘Jim Lambie’s pop-style assemblage of mirrored glass, crushed metal and fake belts which is in the men’s store resonates with McQueen’s tendency to combine very dissimilar materials (including metal, chrome, mirror) in ingenious ways within the collections.’


As a whole, the in-store contemporary exhibition explores the designer’s relationship with London-led art and artists.


This Frieze alliance, the first sponsorship of this kind by Alexander McQueen, sees the designer business cement its affiliation with the art world.


Indeed, the McQueen brand has a longstanding interest in the arts and often displays work by both emerging and established artists in its main Savile Row store. Since it’s establishment in 1992, Alexander McQueen’s fashion house created clothes that transcend fashion and positioned as works of art.


The brand’s collections and runway shows not only typically combined performance, sculpture and art installations, but also referenced art history.


‘McQueen was always engaged in art and close to artists. From the very beginning, he invited London artists and dealers to his early shows, becoming friends with many of them,’ outlines Coles.


‘We responded, in turn, to his readiness to looking beyond fashion for visual stimulus or actual collaboration, and were genuinely interested to see the extraordinary theatre of his shows and collections. He was informed and plugged in.’


The objective is that visitors to the stores will come across something they hadn’t expected to find. Something that isn’t just an illustration of the collection. Something that aims to provoke investigation by those both familiar or unfamiliar with contemporary art.


The art element of his work was even recognised in 2011 by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute – which drew record attendances.


‘Frieze brings together the most exciting galleries from around the globe and Alexander McQueen supports and shares their vision in making contemporary art more accessible and engaging for the public,’ says Alexander McQueen CEO Jonathan Akeroyd.


‘From its beginning, Alexander McQueen has captured the aesthetic imagination of the times, says Frieze’s Amanda Sharp. ‘I can’t think of a company that has more consistently bent convention, merging art and fashion in the most imaginative of ways. It is a great privilege to join forces with them.’


Another aspect of the partnership was an Alexander McQueen hosted dinner at Christ Church Spitalfields for the presentation of the new Frieze Art Fair artists. Dinner guests ranged from celebrities such as Kate Moss and Florence Welch, to Peter Saville, Sarah Burton and the bosses of Frieze and Tate Modern.


The involvement of the British fashion house, now led by Sarah Burton, with Frieze also helped bring some of the world’s most stylish fashionistas to the festival’s tented exhibitions. As did other names in the art world ranging from intellectual fashion boutique Dover Street Market and designer Paul Smith.


The collaboration aims to pull Frieze VIP collectors to the flagship McQueen store by general interest, private invitation and also via the Frieze VIP parties.




Incorporating fine art into the store environment has often been used as a branding tactic – helping retailers benefit from creative association and increased customer dwell time.


While many of these partnerships can feel forced – levering in a connection between art and fashion where it doesn’t seem to genuinely or naturally fit – with McQueen’s philosophy and heritage there is an authentic synergy between the art and the designer’s aesthetic.


Frieze London 2013, which took place from the 17 to 20 October 2013 in Regent’s Park and presents over 150 of the world’s leading galleries, is primarily supported by long-time main sponsor Deutsche Bank.


Indeed, the German financial giant has backed the festival for the last decade and its strategy is based less around creative association and dwell time and more about corporate citizenship, cultural and social responsibility, brand building, client hospitality and internal employee engagement programmes.


Its association with Frieze underlines the bank’s commitment to new art and the fast-changing world that is producing it. Once again, 2013 saw the bank’s presence not just through on-site festival logo appearances and hospitality packages, but again it played a lead role in the festivals’ app guide.


Over recent years Deutsche Bank has built an art collection that looks to the future and promotes new talent.


In addition to its long running Frieze support, it’s art-led initiatives include the new The New Deutsche Bank Contemporary Art Circle, the Deutsche Bank Announces Artist of the Year Award and its 2013 partnership with Create to make art more accessible in East London, plus its growing collection of art apps.


These art apps include the 2013 ‘Art Work’ London art app for iPhone and iPad. A free app which aims to provide an insight into Deutsche Bank’s 30-year commitment to the world of corporate art collecting, its philosophy of embracing creativity and supporting the art of ‘our time’ and help art fans and bank clients to discover international artists, artworks and themes (led by the work and collection featured in its UK offices – which includes pieces by Hirst, Kapoor and Emin).




Frieze Website



Alexander McQueen Website



Deutsche Bank Website



Deutsche Bank Art Apps



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