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SHANGHAI — Lancel is upping its ante in China.

This story first appeared in the April 25, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The French leather goods brand has been in China since 2004 and has eight stores in Beijing, three of which are now under renovation. Lancel marked the opening of its largest concept store in Asia on Tuesday, which is located in a historic building on Huaihai Lu, a high-end shopping street here.

The new store marks Lancel’s second unit in Shanghai, both of which are operated by Compagnie Financière Richemont, the brand’s parent company. The Beijing locations are run by Lancel’s franchise partner on the Mainland.

French architect Christophe Pillet, who created Lancel’s concept store on the Champs Elysées, was also recruited to design the two-story, 7,500-square-foot Lancel Maison in Shanghai, which features a Murano glass chandelier, a hand-painted stained glass panel and a special salon showcasing the Collection Daligramme, an exclusive line launched by Lancel in 2011.

Attendees at the opening included Chinese actress Ni Ni, who was selected as a representative for the brand; Marty Wikstrom, chief executive officer of Richemont’s fashion and accessories businesses; Leonello Borghi, Lancel’s artistic director, and local government officials.

Borghi said the Shanghai boutique will feature more exclusive as well as customized products for Chinese consumers. Limited edition French Flair Dragon and Premier Flirt Shanghai bags were unveiled during the opening.

“It [Lancel] is really considered a really good French brand [in China],” Borghi said. “We see from our Paris stores that we have a lot of Chinese consumers who come to shop, and then they come back and also go to our stores here.

“I feel that, more and more, the [Chinese] customers are really aware of what they are buying,” Borghi added. “They are really aware that they have a choice to make, and they really understand quality, and they understand the look of a product.”

As for future openings in China, Borghi said the brand will decide new locations on a “case-by-case basis to really see if it makes sense and if the location is right.”

Lancel said more events are slated for the brand on the Mainland in coming months; however, it declined to provide details of further plans.

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