By  on August 8, 2007

Shanghai Tang, the Hong Kong-based retailer that has been selling its brand of contemporary Chinese style on Madison Avenue in New York since 1999, has opened its second U.S. store, in Miami.

The 500-square-foot unit in the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel had a soft opening last week. It offers the company's full range of products, including ready-to-wear for women, men and children, accessories and items for the home. There are also handbags made of silk or leather, and fragrances. Women's apparel features materials such as Chinese silk, Mongolian cashmere and shearling.

Shanghai Tang got off to a rocky start in the U.S. when it opened a 12,500-square-foot flagship on Madison Avenue and 61st Street, a victim of high rents and fashion miscues. The store closed after 19 months, resurfacing two blocks north in a space about half the size.

Raphael le Masne de Chermont, executive chairman of Shanghai Tang, explained the rationale for opening a store in Miami. "Tang is the first Chinese luxury lifestyle brand with a global presence," he said, noting the company's stores in Paris, London, Dubai, Tokyo and elsewhere in Asia. "In our flagships, we have a fair amount of enthusiastic customers from Latin origins such as Spain, Italy and South America. They are attracted by the vibrant colors of our products, which is very much a part of Shanghai Tang's DNA."

Le Masne de Chermont said Shanghai Tang will open a store in Madrid within the next six months "and this should naturally grow our brand awareness."

Compagnie Financière Richemont, the luxury goods conglomerate that owns brands such as Cartier, Chloé, Montblanc and Dunhill, holds a majority stake in Shanghai Tang.

The retailer has had a long-standing partnership with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, le Masne de Chermont said. "Mandarin hotels and Shanghai Tang share a common goal of promoting [a] modern and luxurious vision of China," he added. "We both originated in Hong Kong and share the same values of Oriental aesthetics and service."

Shanghai Tang and Mandarin Oriental are working together on other projects in China, he said.

The Miami store is in line with a new prototype the company launched in London last year. Whereas older units were opulent treasure troves of knick-knacks, colorful cushions and traditional Chinese fabrics, the new design by Swedish architect Johannes Tüll is more streamlined and spare.Shanghai Tang has 25 stores worldwide. "Our main focus is currently Mainland China, where we need to have 10 shops by the Olympics in Beijing in August 2008," le Masne de Chermont said, pointing out that there are now six units in China. "The U.S. is also a top priority market and we will announce shortly our new distribution strategy."

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