By and  on June 10, 2009

Gucci Group is busy in Shanghai these days.

The luxury goods group has within a matter of weeks opened stores for its brands Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga and Gucci — the latter two opening last week.

Bottega Veneta opened its seventh store in China at Shanghai’s Golden Eagle Shopping Plaza last month, the same mall where the Gucci brand last week opened a 17,000-square-foot flagship. Covering 4,406 square feet, the Bottega Veneta store, designed by creative director Tomas Maier, carries all the brand’s collections including women’s and men’s wear, leather goods, footwear and accessories.

Maier said he was “very pleased” with the company’s “continuous developments in this important market. This is a significant step towards our objective of offering the entire range of Bottega Veneta products and exquisite shopping experience to more customers in Mainland China.”

To mark the opening, Maier created a limited edition bag named the Shanghai Duette in copper ostrich.

Balenciaga’s 1,600-square-foot women’s and men’s boutique at Plaza 66, plus a 970-square-foot accessories-only unit in the Hangzhou Tower in Hangzhou, mark the brand’s first stores in Mainland China.

The two boutiques are directly owned by Balenciaga’s new Chinese subsidiary, with operational support from a local company.

As with other Balenciaga boutiques, the decor was created by designer Nicolas Ghesquière in collaboration with French artist Dominique Gonzales Foerster and leans to the otherworldly, with iceberglike fixtures and meteor-shaped wall pegs. Floor tiles were sourced locally, with spaces divided into small hexagonal “pavilions” to create intimacy and echo Chinese architectural traditions.

The French fashion house plans to add two additional Chinese boutiques this year, according to Isabelle Guichot, president and chief executive officer, who described China’s long-term growth potential as “proving to be sound and healthy even with the current global headwinds.”

Balenciaga now operates 26 directly owned stores and 17 franchises, in addition to its wholesale distribution.

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