Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Selfridge's major marketing mishap

The window in question displaying one of McQueen's dresses hanging from a wooden structure

Leading department store Selfridges has come under fire this week after a sorely misjudged window display in its Manchester store left fashion fans outraged.

The store presented a recognisable Alexander McQueen dress hanging (yes - hanging) from a spotlight attached to a wooden structure which closely resembled a hangman's gallows.

The designer was sadly found dead in his London home on February 11 this year by his housekeeper. The cause of death was determined as suicide by asphyxiation and hanging.

Selfridges has since issued an apology on its official Twitter page, saying: "We apologise for any offence caused. It was not intentional and the dress has been removed."

A Selfridges spokesperson commented: "It was never intended to be linked to his death. This was a genuine mistake and not to cause controversy or upset."

Whether intentional or not, the display demonstrated a stupendous lack of thought or consideration on Selfridges' part.

Selfridges' windows have become synonymous with the brand (much like Fenwicks' Christmas window displays for our Geordie readers). The store has a history of bold art initiatives when it comes to the window designs, and since 2002 the windows have been photographed by London photographer Andrew Meredith and published in magazines such as Vogue, Dwell, Icon, Creative Review, Design Week, Harper's Bazaar and the New York Times.

As major players in the fashion and retail fields, Selfridges should have taken a step back to consider how appropriate the display really was before installing, and you can't help but wonder who approved it and how many cups of coffee they'd had that day - we would suspect, not enough!