Last Thursday night Versace officially unveiled their new Beijing Flagship Store located in the Sanlitun North Village shopping complex. The opening was a low key affair with a modest contingent of media and special guests invited to the event. Actress Zhangwei was the main attraction as she toured the store in a bright frilly dress from Versace’s Spring Summer 2011 collection, although she must have been cold as it was only 10 degrees on the night.
Sanlitun North Village is high-end shopping mall operated by Swire properties from Hong Kong. However, it is yet to be seen whether The Village North project will become a successful shopping mall. Although operated by Swire, (who have an excellent reputation for shopping malls in Hong Kong) the location, scarcity of pedestrians and traffic problems worried high-end retailers, who for years have been reluctant to commit to the mall. To convince Luxury brands such as Versace to open a flagship store in the mall Swire Properties needed to offer such incentives as minimal rent and generous fit out contributions in order to minimize the brands’ investment and risk.
At around 500sqm the Beijing Versace Flagship is a new concept store for Versace worldwide. The entire first floor tiling in the store was once the floor of a church in Rome and was imported direct from Italy especially for the store. Versace now competes with other high-end brands in The North Village including Emporio Armani (see related post), Balenciaga, Lanvin and Balmain for the young fashion savvy Beijing consumers.