BEIJING—Carven, the 65-year-old Parisian brand rescued from collapse by Henri Sebaoun six years ago, has just opened its first freestanding store in Beijing and is already planning a third outpost in the city as it embarks on its ambitious international expansion plan.
The 860-square-foot boutique, located in Sanlitun North shopping complex, is the label's fourth outlet in China. Carven already had a shop-in-shop at Galeries Lafayette in Beijing and it opened two stores in Shanghai last year.A third Beijing store, located in Shindong Place shopping mall, will open in two weeks.
"This is very important year for us," said Carven president Sebaoun. "We are very happy to be in Beijing."
The Sanlitun store opening event, which took place Wednesday, attracted the likes of Chinese actresses Chen Ran, Bai Baihe and Zhu Zhu.
This year alone the brand has opened 11 stores around the world and it has plans for two more: Moscow, at the end of the month, and Los Angeles.
After the second Beijing opening, Sebaoun said he thinks the brand will have enough stores in Beijing and Shanghai but he doesn't exclude opening in other mainland locations.
He and Bluebell Group, which distributes Carven's products in Asia, are also considering direct selling through Alibaba's Tmall platform.
"At the very least, it would give greater visibility to the brand," Sebaoun said, declining to give sales figures for China.
As elsewhere, Carven is also keen to stay in contact with its customers in China.
It already has presence on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. To coincide with the store opening, the brand launched an account on the highly popular chat platform, Wei Xin.
Bluebell chief executive officer Ashley Micklewright said the label's understated, contemporary look should appeal to Chinese shoppers who are tired of the big luxury names.
The company has also tried to keep prices low so that it can stay true to the brand's unofficial motto of "affordable luxury." Even so, items in China will still be around 30 to 40 percent more expensive than elsewhere.
Import duties, high rents and low turnover are part of the reason there is always a price differential between China and brands' home markets, Micklewright explained. Because Bluebell only befits from Carven sales if they take place in Asia, Bluebell and Cavern agreed to swallow some of those cost, he said.
"Luxury is too expensive in China," Micklewright said. "It's a situation that has to change, but I don't see how it can."
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye