AN AUSSIE OUTPOST
Byline: Patricia Huntington
SYDNEY — Almost one year to the day that the international CK Calvin Klein rollout kicked off in Bangkok, the diffusion line’s 13th store opened in Sydney last Friday.
The 6,080-square-foot, split-level boutique is situated on busy Castlereagh Street, an area where international designer and luxury labels have flocked for five years.
The store joins freestanding stores for DKNY, Gucci, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace, Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Salvatore Ferragamo and Tiffany’s, among others, with Prada en route for a November opening, and many others cruising the horizon for vacant real estate.
Although this is Klein’s first freestanding store in Australia, CK Calvin Klein is the fifth designer-luxury boutique to be opened on Castlereagh Street over the past 2 1/2 years by Singapore-based Club 21 — the local franchise partner of choice for an increasing number of international labels. It was the seventh prestige boutique Club 21 has opened in Australia since the beginning of the year. Club 21 is owned by Christina Ong, the wife of Singaporean billionaire Ong Beng Seng.
Calvin Klein Inc. and the Singapore-based retailer formed a joint venture last year called CK21 to realize the Asian chapter of CK Calvin Klein’s global expansion plans. Club 21 also operates a Calvin Klein Collection franchised boutique in Singapore and, as reported, has given a commitment to open 10 more Collection stores in Asia by the end of the decade.
David Ketchum, senior vice president of marketing of Calvin Klein Asia, noted that other CK stores and a Collection boutique could be next for Australia.
“It’s our decision to build a global retail network, coupled with a growing appreciation of just fashion in general here,” he said. “If you look at the growing profile of Australian designers and also international designers, this country has really been transformed in just a few years.
“Castlereagh Street is really developing as a strong center of the fashion world in Australia….We’re looking at other opportunities in Australia and certainly Melbourne is one of them.”
In line with the mood of other CK Calvin Klein stores, the Sydney store boasts large open spaces, clean white walls, concrete-tiled floors, hot rolled steel fixtures and video towers displaying CK imagery.