Karl Lagerfeld’s presence in China has been limited, but that’s about to change.
The brand just opened its first two stand-alone boutiques in China, where its presence was limited to just a few mall-based units previously, reportsWWD. The new flagship in Beijing and the smaller unit in Shanghai are just the beginning, if all goes according to plan. Lagerfeld hopes to open 40 stores over the next five years in China, and it has joined forces with Apax Partners to make this expansion plan a reality.
“Our expectations for China are very high because what we also see is a new emerging consumer group,” said Pier Paolo Righi, the Lagerfeld CEO, “There’s a younger luxury consumer, a young fashion consumer that is looking for not-so-established brands…not the brands their parents are wearing, but something new and fresh that gives them access to a luxury world but in an accessible way.” To invigorate the brand’s image, Apax partners has been designing black-and-white stores for its rock-‘n’-roll reminiscent collections in new European stores, a concept that will be explored in Asia.
Righi believes that China could end up being the brand’s largest market. He has positioned products in the Chinese units much like those in the European stores, focusing on women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes, watches, eyewear and gift items. There is also a sprinkling of formalwear. Accessories-based stores will also follow in China.
A team of twenty, headed by Righi, has been charged to focus on the China expansion of Lagerfeld. Four more stores will open within the next six months, including a second outlet in Beijing.
photo credit: karl lagerfeld