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SHANGHAI — After a three year, multi-million dollar renovation, another historic building on Shanghai’s Bund waterfront is now open for business, and unlike other properties nearby that are home to luxury brands ranging from Giorgio Armani to Chanel and Prada, executives say they are seeking retailers that focus predominantly on making custom-made products for wealthy Chinese consumers.
“The needs of customers are rapidly changing,” said Michelle Lee president of Bund 22, a building that dates back to the early 20th century. “What they are looking for is personalized style. The demand for that has been rising.”
The retail concept for the property, which is managed by the Shanghai South Bund Industrial Development Co. Ltd., a Hong Kong-registered company with largely Taiwanese management, is centered on “premium tailored services.” The company threw an opening party for the building earlier this month.
Premium spaces on the ground floor are occupied by the flagship store of Chinese couture designer Guo Pei. Another tenant is Aolisha, which makes custom wedding gowns and dresses. Lee said she hopes the building will become a go-to wedding destination where brides and grooms can have dresses and suits made as well as jewelry, shoes, even wedding cakes. Other retailers that have already moved in include C Oriental Luxurious Jewelry, which focuses on one-of-a-kind designs, and Eleganza Uomo, a bespoke suit maker from Hong Kong.
The building is home to a number of high-end restaurants. Cirque Du Soir, a nightclub with locales in London and Dubai, will open soon. The basement has a wine cellar where VIP clients can reserve a space for personal collections.
There are challenges for Bund 22. It is located on a swath of the Bund that is still relatively under-developed and far from a host of restored buildings frequented by tourists and locals for luxury shopping, for dining in expensive restaurants or for nightlife in posh clubs. The neighborhood is not well known in the city and tour groups tend to congregate a mile or so down the road near other notable landmarks.
On a recent afternoon, the shopping area of the building was empty. Some of the stores were closed. And only a couple of the retail spaces are visible from the street, with the rest located alongside a corridor in the back of the structure. Around 80 percent of the space has been rented out, Lee said.
Yet the executive she is confident that the property’s emphasis on a more customized side of luxury will soon bring in more visitors. Another retail complex under construction next door also promises to bring more traffic.
“You can find Chanel or Louis Vuitton or Hermes anywhere,” she said. “Here, we want everything to be unique — something you can’t find anywhere else.”