I.T. BEIJING MARKET: A sprawling 19,000 square-foot, four-story multibrand fashion emporium is set to open in Beijing on December 29.
The concept and direction of the I.T. Beijing Market, which will be located in the Sanlitun retail development, was conceived by Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo.
Kawakubo's avant-garde Japanese label, which is French for "like boys," has morphed into a $180 million fashion empire since its origins in the 70s and boasts 200 franchises worldwide. She brought her first collection from Tokyo to Paris in the early 80s and wowed critics with her strong silhouettes and originality.
Though the I.T. Beijing Market will primarily stock Comme des Garçon brands, it will also carry other designer labels curated by Kawakubo herself including Azzedine Alaïa, Yves Saint Laurent, Ann Demeulemeester and BAPE. It will be operated by the I.T. Group, Comme des Garçons' franchise partner in Hong Kong and Greater China.
The new Beijing emporium follows hot on the successful heels of Kawakubo's earlier multi-brand retail venture in London. She opened Dover Street Market in 2004 with the intention of creating a "kind of market where various creators from various fields gather together and encounter each other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos: the mixing up and coming together of different kindred souls who all share a strong personal vision."
Dover Street Market turned out to be a hit, which is why Kawakubo plans to unveil one in Beijing at yearend, followed by another in Toyko in 2011. "They will not be carbon copies, but completely new versions of the London original," she said. The Tokyo emporium, to be named Ginza Komatsu Market, will spawn 32,000 square feet and seven stories. It will be operated in partnership with department store operator Komatsu.
In addition to Kawakubo's multibrand emporiums, other top luxury boutiques that offer a tightly-edited selection of high-end designers include Villa Moda in Kuwait, Jeffrey in New York, Maxfield in Los Angeles, Joyce in Hong Kong, 10 Corso Como in Milan, and Colette in Paris.