Parisian label Maison Kitsuné to open first stores in China in H2
Maison Kitsuné is set to accelerate its growth in 2019. Last year, the Parisian womenswear and menswear label with music-scene roots embarked on a development plan bolstered by new funding from its Japanese shareholder Stripe International, and in 2019 it intends to step up the pace of new store openings.
The label’s most important expansion focus was recently revealed, after a deal was struck to set up a joint-venture company with Chinese group Joeone, as reported by FashionNetwork.com on February 19. By creating a Chinese subsidiary, owned in equal parts by Maison Kitsuné and Chinese menswear specialist Joeone, which operates over 2,700 stores in the country, the Parisian label is looking to open some 50 stores in China in five years.
The first three are slated for August and September, as three projects are under way in Hong Kong (where Maison Kitsuné already operates a store), Shanghai and Chengdu. Gildas Loaëc, the label’s co-founder and co-director, said that the stores’ primary focus will be on apparel but, depending on the premises, they could also feature a concept-store format with a Café Kitsuné bar.
“Joeone’s management expressed an interest in [Maison Kitsuné] two years ago, and we took our time with the negotiations, as we didn’t want to compromise our expansion in China, a crucial market for our Asian business. This joint undertaking is a challenge in itself, considering the size of the country,” said Loaëc.
The plan is to open 50 stores across mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao. An ambitious objective, for a label which currently operates fifteen stores worldwide, chiefly in Paris and Japan. However, the number of stores is destined to increase not just in China alone.
Seoul, Jakarta and Paris also on the cards
A third Maison Kitsuné store in South Korea will in fact open in Seoul next month, as a concession within the Galleria department store. This new development is the fruit of a partnership deal signed a few months ago with Samsung in Korea, which envisages fifteen openings in the country in the near future.
Indonesia, starting from Jakarta and again through a partnership, is also in Maison Kitsuné’s sights: a new opening inside the city’s District 8 shopping mall is planned for next October.
Finally, the label is not forgetting its domestic market, France, where it is busy on other projects. A contract has in fact reportedly been signed for new premises in Paris, with a fashion store and café format, which is expected to open before the summer.
Maison Kitsuné’s new development phase began after the label’s lifestyle approach became more comprehensive, notably with a stronger fashion statement after the arrival of new creative director Yuni Ahn.
“It’s a natural development on which we have been working for two to three years, creating a brand with a strong reputation, whose footprint we are keen to expand. This involves improving the calibre of [the label’s] distribution and in parallel also focusing more strongly on fashion,” said Loaëc, adding: “We have created a fully fledged design studio around our new creative director, with an atelier which produces the clothes. [We want to be] a genuine Parisian fashion label, with all the trimmings.”
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