By  on April 16, 2007

NEW YORK — China has been the focus of many upscale fashion labels, and now Calvin Klein Collection is getting in on the act.

Calvin Klein Inc. is opening a Collection store in China this month, on the lower ground floor of the Peninsula Arcade in the Peninsula Beijing Hotel in Beijing.

The 2,690-square-foot store will offer a large assortment of Calvin Klein Collection merchandise, from men's and women's clothing to several accessories classifications.

"China is extremely important as a market," said Tom Murry, CKI's president and chief operating officer, in a telephone interview from Basel, Switzerland, where the company was throwing a party to celebrate a decade in the watch business during the Baselworld watch and jewelry fair.

China boasts 44 Calvin Klein boutiques across brands such as Calvin Klein Jeans, ck Calvin Klein and Calvin Klein Underwear, and Hong Kong 26, the new Beijing unit, marks the company's first Collection store in the region. Collection, which is designed by Francisco Costa for women and Italo Zucchelli for men, was not sold in China before.

"Collection rounds out the image of the brand," Murry noted. "It is considered the halo for the brand. We feel that China is ready for it, so we wanted to open there."

The Peninsula Arcade features many top luxury and fashion brands, including Cartier, Burberry, Bulgari, Chanel, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Prada.

Sun Rise Moda will own and run the new Calvin Klein Collection boutique, which offers a glimpse of the house's new store concept. According to a company statement, it features elements such as gunmetal stainless steel fixturing, elliptical white leather furniture and stone floors. "It's a subtle evolution of what we had already established [on Madison Avenue]," Murry said.

He added that CKI plans to open more Collection units in China, and Shanghai is likely to be the next location. "We are holding out for a great location [in Shanghai]," he said, adding a flagship is likely to open in the "not so distant future."

The Beijing store brings the number of Collection stores to six, after New York, Milan, Rome, Dubai and Moscow. An in-store environment opened at Harvey Nichols last month and will open at Daslu in São Paolo, Brazil, next month. "I would say we are judiciously expanding our visibility with Collection," Murry said. "China is a focal point for most of the brand. The brand awareness and brand image at consumer level is very high."The company will inaugurate the new store with a dinner attended by Murry, Costa and Zucchelli on May 17.

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