When an Australian designer makes it on the world stage, there can be a temptation to elevate the brand – and the prices.
But not Alice McCall, who is determined to keep her signature playsuits and party pieces firmly in their three-figure range, despite her growing international profile.
Designer Alice McCall has vowed to keep her current pricing structure, despite her growing international success. Photo: James Brickwood
“That strategy is great because you get quality and a unique product and something that has longevity because I am not dictated by trends,” she said.
And while her new range features a $2000 ostrich feather jacket – a “showstopper”, in the designer’s words – she’s determined to stay loyal to the customers who have stuck with her for the past 16 years.
“I’m mindfully elevating the brand, giving it a slightly more premium feel but that’s without alienating our core customer and changing our core pricing strategy,” she says.
Famous fans … Beyonce wearing Alice McCall in 2016. Photo: Instagram/@beyonce
Speaking to Fairfax Media from her Sydney studio, McCall has just been announced on the line-up for New York Fashion Week in February.
With sales through online retailers Net-a-Porter and Moda Operandi performing above expectation, McCall says it’s a logical step for the label.
“People know and love our brand,” she says. “It suits the marketplace over there with the transseasonal appeal and occasional wear.”
McCall, whose show will take place on February 10, less than one month before the Oscars, has made no secret of her red carpet ambitions. And with fans including Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Beyonce, it’s not a pipe dream to have one of her new designs centre stage at Hollywood’s night of nights on March 4.
As seen on // @kylieminogue wears the I Feel It Coming Dress, styled by @ellamurphy_stylist • in store & online via link in bio • #aliceMcCALL #McCALLme
A post shared by alice McCALL (@alicemccallptyltd) on Dec 15, 2017 at 10:09pm PST
Without giving too much away, McCall said the new collection features gowns embellished with feathers, lame and embroidery in “powerful, strong female silhouettes”, just the perfect thing for this #TimesUp awards season.
“There’s a gown that looks like an Oscar … it’s gold and fabulous. It would be amazing, there are some pieces that would definitely be worthy [of the red carpet],” she says.
And while McCall values celebrity endorsement, she considers it an “incremental” part of her business.
“It’s authentic, they wear it because they love it. The right celebrity has tremendous power,” she says.
But with success comes certain aggravations, with McCall revealing she’s had to contend with copycats. The issue of fakes has long been a bugbear of international brands but is increasingly affecting local brands.
A model wearing one of Alice McCall’s signature playsuits. Photo: Jesse-Leigh Elford
“People say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so I am doing something right but if it’s a copy mistaken for my brand, then we get it taken off the shop floor,” she says.
The other hot topic in fashion is diversity, with McCall committed to serving a broad customer base and including models from different walks of life in her show.
“We have got to a space where our age demographic is expanding, we get a lot of mothers and daughters [shopping together],” she says.