By  on October 6, 2005

NEW YORK — With a luxury appeal that transcends most Chinese imports, Blanc de Chine is getting ready to open its first U.S. store in late November, on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street here.

The site, 673 Fifth Avenue, blends Chinese tradition with modern styling and sophisticated fabric treatments.

"We are bringing the heritage and culture of ancient China to a modern ready-to-wear approach," said Jack W. Drapacz, vice president and general manager for the Hong Kong-based Blanc de Chine in North America. "We felt there was a void in the luxury market when it came to Eastern-influenced collections."

Blanc de Chine's arrival follows that of Shanghai Tang, the subsidiary of Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, which has a store on Madison Avenue between 63rd and 64th Streets. Shanghai Tang offers a broader range of products, however, including more casualwear.

Blanc de Chine will have two selling floors totaling 2,400 square feet, a 1,000-square-foot showroom for wholesaling starting next year, a two-story window for a grand view into the store, tall decorative bamboo screens, and a spiral staircase. It's being designed by architect S. Russell Groves, who is known for a clean and sensual approach that Drapacz said is consistent with the Blanc de Chine aesthetic.

The company has only one store, a 12-year-old unit in the Central District of Hong Kong.

Women's rtw, representing roughly half the volume of the line and ranging in price from $400 pants to $2,500 dresses, will be on the first floor; men's wear, with jackets priced from $600 to $1,200, and home products will be displayed on the second floor. The collection emphasizes Mandarin-collared jackets; the "Qi Pao" little black dress, which is offered in various styles; Italian fabrics; jacket and coat linings as meticulously styled as the outer shells, and generally, looks that "don't overwhelm the wearer," Drapacz said. "They become one, with him or her."

Also offered are cashmere tops; blazers in silk, cashmere, cotton and linen; pants; eveningwear; coats; blouses; pajamas; scarves and belts, and a special "leather silk," which is silk that is naturally treated through a proprietary technology to make it look like leather.

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