ARRIVING IN CHINA: Ann Demeulemeester has opened its first freestanding store on Mainland China. The retail space, located in the Réel Mall in central Shanghai, officially opened on Thursday night. The 947-square-foot unit is operated by the Hong Kong-based fashion retailer I.T Ltd., which has carried Ann Demeulemeester in its multibrand stores on the Mainland for a number of years.

Founding designer Ann Demeulemeester was on site for the opening, yet mainly in the background after handing over the creative director reins for the brand to Sébastien Meunier, an alumnus of Maison Martin Margiela who has worked on Demeulemeester’s men’s wear since 2010. The celebration of the store opening included a demure presentation of the brand’s spring collection.

This story first appeared in the April 21, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“This is a very energetic country, and for fashion brands, it is really an interesting moment,” Meunier said. “China is going towards a more designer approach. We are really a designer brand, and we think the Chinese market is ready for that. This is a rising market, and it is important.”

Ann Demeulemeester also has retail locations in Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo.

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