It may have taken a while but the next generation of multi-brand department stores have finally arrived in China. The past two months has seen a slew of big openings from Shanghai’s 10 Corso Como to Galeries Lafayette in Beijing. On Wednesday, Hong Kong retailer Lane Crawford finally opened its highly-anticipated Shanghai store with a massive party attended by celebrities including actresses Maggie Cheung and Carina Lau, and model Du Juan.
While this is not the retailer’s first store in China (it has two in Beijing, with one planned for Chengdu next year), it is by far the biggest and most impressive. Located in Shanghai’s Times Square, it’s a homecoming of sorts (they have had a presence in Shanghai since the late 1800s and their previous boutique in the city was at the same location but closed in 2005). Measuring a whopping 150,000 square feet and covering four floors, there are over 500 brands represented across women’s fashion, beauty and fine jewellery, menswear and home and lifestyle.
The store, which took three years to build and cost approximately 400 million RMB, was designed with close collaborators Yabu Pushelberg and resembles a modern gallery. Chic and modern, it seamlessly integrates into the mall, blurring the lines between inside and outside, much like the brand’s iconic IFC outlet in Hong Kong.
Aside from the usual stable of designer and emerging brands, I was excited to see the addition of three Chinese fashion designers including Helen Lee, Ms Min and Chictopia (apparently the response has been so good that the collection sold out on the first day!) The brands are displayed in a dedicated space in the heart of the store called The Hub, which is designed to showcase emerging creative talent in fashion, art and design.
It’s also interesting to see that the store has dedicated a rather large space to contemporary brands, including Alice & Olivia, Iro, Helmut Lang and British brand Whistles, which is available in China for the first time. It goes to show that the demand for contemporary fashion in China is only set to grow. Other highlights for me were definitely the accessories department which covers an entire floor and features dedicated rooms to brands like Saint Laurent, McQueen and Valentino.
Naturally with China, service is everything so in addition to their concierge and personal shopping services, the store boasts a massive 6,000 square foot Platinum Suite for VIPs. There’s even a separate private suite for men that’s decked out more like a gentleman’s club.
To celebrate the opening , Lane Crawford collaborated with a host of designers including Pucci, Proenza Schouler and Jason Wu, on a range of charity tees which benefit UNICEF China.