By Miles Socha
with contributions from Tianwei Zhang
 on July 7, 2020
Backstage at Dries Van Noten RTW Fall 2020

Pointing to a future growth avenue, Dries Van Noten is to open his first freestanding boutique in China this fall in the Réel Mall in central Shanghai.

Matteo De Rosa, who was named president of the Antwerp-based fashion house in January, confirmed the retail project on the ground floor of the upscale shopping complex on Nanjing West Road.

“We will be looking to expand our footprint in the coming years, both digitally and with brick-and-mortar,” De Rosa said in an interview on Tuesday.

The 1,800-square-foot boutique, which will be operated with a local partner, is under construction and targeted to open in late August.

De Rosa said the boutique would showcase the complete men’s and women’s collections for fall 2020.

The brand is already distributed in China via Dries Van Noten’s main wholesale partner, Lane Crawford/Joyce Group, he noted.

In his previous job as managing director of the Ports 1961 label, De Rosa was based in Hong Kong and knows the Asian market well. He started his career at Ports in China, working in the group’s accessories department.

Spain’s Puig Group, which acquired Dries Van Noten in 2018, trumpeted De Rosa’s experience in “brand expansion” both in Europe and in Asia when he was appointed president, a post that suggests the fashion house is gearing up for a growth phase.

The brand counts boutiques in cities including Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and Seoul, some with partners, while key retail clients include Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Le Bon Marché, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Shinsegae.

Van Noten remains a minority shareholder in the company, and carries the title of chief creative officer and chairman of the board.

He is on the calendar for the first online edition of Paris Fashion Week for men, for which brands were asked to present a creative film or video. Men’s week runs from July 9 to July 13 in the French capital.

One of the original Antwerp Six, Van Noten comes from a family of tailors and is a graduate of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. He launched his label with men’s wear in 1986, and established his flagship, known as Het Modepaleis and located on the site of a historic department store, in his hometown in 1989.