Dolce & Gabbana Pushes China Expansion

Dolce & Gabbana is the latest designer brand eager to ride the business boom in this city on the banks of the Yangtze.

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The Martini bar.

Photo By WWD Staff

SHANGHAI — Dolce & Gabbana is the latest designer brand eager to ride the business boom in this city on the banks of the Yangtze.

The Italian fashion house has opened its third store in mainland China, on the Bund here. The store was opened officially last month with a gala party, including a creative hip-hop reinterpretation of the traditional Chinese lion dance.

“The Bund is an extremely interesting area, in terms of shopping: so many nice bars, shops and restaurants are already there, and the architectural beauty of the street will for sure attract more and more tourists,” enthused Dolce & Gabbana chief operating officer Cristiana Ruella.

Shanghai’s waterfront is growing in popularity as the city’s most prestigious address for luxury brands, but many question its viability as a high-end commercial destination given that its foot traffic is dominated by low-income Chinese tourists.

In Ruella admitted success on the Bund might take time, adding “it may depend also on the project which the City of Shanghai is studying for the Bund — turn it into a pedestrian zone, move the bus stop, etc.”

However, she added, “In our opinion, in Shanghai nothing is already so ‘mature’ in terms of fashion and luxury items, so everything is still very fluid and with a great potential. And the Bund has for sure the best potential to become the shopping area for luxury items in Shanghai.”

The new shop occupies the ground floor of a three-story, Gothic-style edifice. Along with 8,000 square feet of retail space and 2,150 square feet of storage and office space, it includes a 915-square-foot Dolce & Gabbana Martini Bar. The traditional “Shanghai plaster” exterior was painted bright yellow during renovation, but then local preservation laws required the company to repaint it back to a more subdued gray.

The interior, designed by Ferruccio Laviani, is bisected into symmetrical sections for men’s and women’s wear, outfitted with Dolce & Gabbana’s signature black glass and purple chandeliers. The martini bar is situated at the back of the space, behind a winding staircase leading up to independently owned Japanese and Italian restaurants just opened on the second and third floors.
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