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Hugo Boss Goes Big in Hong Kong

The brand's two new stores — one in Central and the other in Tsim Sha Tsui — are on either side of the city’s harbor.

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Hugo Boss celebrated the opening of its two new Boss stores in Hong Kong with a glitzy harbor-front party Wednesday night. The stores — one in Central and the other in Tsim Sha Tsui — are on either side of the city’s harbor.

“We’ve been doing business in Hong Kong for 30 years, but never with the presence we’ve now gained. We expect a lot of Mainland Chinese customers as well as those from Hong Kong,” said Hugo Boss chief executive officer Claus-Dietrich Lahrs.

The German fashion house is moving away from selling through partners to running its own stores, where it has more control over the way the clothes are presented and the price points.

The interiors of the two stores feature black steel grids with LED strips and fabric wall panels, the hallmarks of the new-generation store concept that has already been rolled out in Shanghai, Paris and New York. The design also incorporates plenty of mirror optics and glossy surfaces, making for a sleek and sophisticated look. And with 1,030 square meters of selling space, the Central store is the largest Boss store in Asia.

“It allows us to display all our collections across categories and gives us not only the ability to show women’s wear on one floor, but also to show made-to-measure in a separate room, which is something we’re doing more and more of in cities like Hong Kong,” said Lahrs.

Women’s wear artistic director Jason Wu said the opening was one of the highlights of a very busy first year with the brand and he was especially taken by the store in Central Building.

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“It’s cool because it’s an old bank so it has the mystery. I love that when you come down the stairs there is the expanse of space and it’s full of surprises, and I think that’s a lot like the company. When I first visited the campus in Metzingen, it inspired the entire collection,” said the 31-year-old designer, referring to his debut fall collection, which was on display at the new stores.

The 1,000-strong guest list included local celebrities such as actress Miriam Yeung, actor Chow Yun-fat, singer Julian Cheung and four of casino magnate Stanley Ho’s children — Pansy, Daisy, Mario and Orlando — who were all wearing Boss. Mainland model Lynn Xiong and Korean actor Lee Jong-suk also turned out for the event.

Solange Knowles flew in from the U.S. to DJ the after party at Pier 7 on the harbor front. The dance floor was mobbed as she and Wu posed for pictures in the DJ booth.

Australian actress Margot Robbie came in from Los Angeles to support Wu, the first trip to Hong Kong for the 23-year-old actress, who was taken with the glamorous harbor setting.

“I’ve always been a big fan of Jason Wu’s clothes, and I really like where he’s taking it. The dress I’m wearing I saw on the New York runway and I love it,” said Robbie.

For Wu, who stopped in Taiwan on the way to Hong Kong to attend the launch of his mother’s book on child education, it was a special night.

“Seeing the collection and Margot Robbie wearing it, it’s wonderful because it’s something I’ve worked on so much with the team and it’s nice to see it come to life. It’s such a glamorous night,” said Wu.

Hugo Boss opened two stores in Shanghai last year. Lahrs said although sentiment on the Mainland was improving, it was still a tough market.

“We expect 2014 for Mainland China’s business to continue to be challenging even if things are improving week by week,” said Lahrs.

With more than 50 percent of the brand’s business in retail, he said the company had much greater control of its collections and how they were presented.

“We own stores, and for that reason we have completely changed the way we are marketing and distributing in China,” Lahrs said.

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