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Hong Kong is now the only city in the world with two Louis Vuitton Maisons, one on each side of Victoria Harbour.
Yves Carcelle, chairman and chief executive of Louis Vuitton, said the city's unique layout and the booming influx of tourists here merited the second Maison. "Hong Kong is really a unique case, where the two sides of the water really divide the place — kind of like Budapest. We wanted to celebrate the two sides of Hong Kong at the same time," he said, acknowledging customers on either side of the harbor have different demographics and needs.
"In Central there is a sophisticated clientele but a lot of tourists, too. At Ocean Terminal, the flow of traffic is totally fantastic, it's incredible — and we need to provide such a volume that meets the need of the crowd."
Carcelle said the Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood where the new store is located has been destined to change since the late Eighties, when the One Peking Road project came up for tender (Vuitton lost the bid to Hong Kong billionaire developer Li Ka-shing). "At that time retail was on Nathan Road and this was the first development there," recalled Carcelle. "I remember standing in front of the Dior store and thinking it's sad; but I said to my team, 'We missed this one, but it doesn't mean we should miss this area.'"
Vuitton opted for Canton Road, deciding to take a large space with a street-facing facade rather than a store inside the attached mall. "That transformed Canton Road," said Carcelle, who added, "To be able to participate in the beautification of a city like that is very satisfying."
Gucci, Lane Crawford, Coach, Salvatore Ferragamo and many others quickly followed.
The new store has transformed the area again. Spread over four levels, with numerous entrances, the Maison features an unmistakable 860-foot LED screen facade by Japanese architect Kumiko Inui. Inspired by the company's checkerboard Damier pattern, the facade in turn inspired the store's interior, where squares and subtle stripes play vital roles in demarcating the selling spaces.