NEW YORK — The Fifth Avenue flagship of Blanc de Chine, a Hong Kong fashion company, is dramatic.
The store features a two-floor, 30-foot-wide glass facade with a wide view to the inside and a white sculptural spiral staircase connecting women's wear, on the first floor, with men's and home furnishings on the second.
Both the architecture and the Blanc de Chine collection are a study in contrasts, blending traditional Chinese elements with contemporary ones. It's Blanc de Chine's second store. The first is in Hong Kong.
Women's ready-to-wear ranges in price from $400 pants to $2,500 dresses; men's wear includes jackets at $600 to $1,200. The collection emphasizes Mandarin-collar jackets, the "Qi Pao" little black dress, Italian fabrics, coats with meticulously styled linings, as well as cashmeres, blouses, pajamas, accessories and a special "leather silk," which is naturally treated to make it look like leather.
The company is privately owned by real estate developer Kin Yeung. He also owns the building housing the store at 673 Fifth Avenue. The unit opened in December.
Store designer S. Russell Groves explained the philosophy and inspiration for the space in this Q&A.
WWD: How does the store blend traditional Chinese elements with modernity?
Russell Groves: In fusing the traditional with modern Chinese elements, we chose a suggestive, rather than literal, approach. Instead of the obvious red lacquer and gold imagery associated with Chinese design, the focus is instead on a modern interpretation of the ancient Chinese reverence for nature. This approach is reflected in our use of deep brown variegated wood flooring, walnut plinths with a graceful natural edge and ebonized rift oak cabinetry. It is also apparent in the vacuum-formed acrylic screens, which play off the traditional Chinese element of bamboo.
WWD: How does it fit with your philosophy on store design?
R.G.: Our design philosophy is to combine a fresh, modern aesthetic with sophisticated materials and luxurious finishes.
WWD: The facade is beautiful with its tall windows, stonework and great view of the staircase, but does it overshadow the merchandise?R.G.: Our intention with this project was to provide an iconic, assertive visual presence along Fifth Avenue for the brand's first foray into the U.S. market, so the facade had to be dramatic and compelling. Inside, Blanc de Chine, with its strong brand presence and distinctive elegant product, is fully supported by the architecture and never overshadowed by it.
WWD: What is the mood of the store?
R.G.: The mood is chic and inviting, urging patrons to explore, enjoy and discover the beauty of a distinctive sensibility.
WWD: What materials were used for the exterior?
R.G.: The glass is laminated water-white starfire glass, which is the cleanest, purest color available on the market. The frames of the windows are mirror-polished stainless steel. The stone cladding of the exterior is a pale, buff-colored Indiana limestone, smooth at the piers between the windows and dramatically rusticated at the base and lintels above the windows. Indiana limestone is a material traditionally used on monumental buildings throughout New York City and the U.S.
WWD: Would you say the logo is inspired by calligraphy?
R.G.: The logo was designed in-house at the Blanc de Chine Hong Kong office. The Chinese character chosen means "the source [or mouth] of the river."
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews