BEIJING — Three years after staging a runway show with Beijing’s ancient city wall as a backdrop, Phillip Lim returned to the city this week to host a splashy party marking the opening of his first retail store in China.
Lim invited 500 people to fete the 2,700-square-foot, two-story 3.1 Phillip Lim flagship store at the Taikoo Li, the luxury brand end of Sanlitun Village compound.
The store stocks men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and features an accessories studio with footwear, belts, bags and sunglasses.
Lim, who will next open a Shanghai store in that city’s Kerry Center mall, said his 3.1 brand fits with the emerging style of China. Though he is American through-and-through, Lim’s parents are both from China and he feels at home here as well as the United States.
Stylistically, Lim said, his designs play well to Chinese women and men. “Cool, easy, chic — I’ve seen them everywhere in the world,” Lim said of his target consumer.
Alice Wong, executive director of ImagineX, the Hong Kong brand management and distribution company partnering with Lim for his China rollout, said the look and feel of his designs are exactly right for China at this moment.
“Luxury consumers are fast evolving from status seeking and logo-loving to a more discreet expression of their own individual style,” said Wong. “Phillip is leading a new generation of designers that cater to that individualistic approach. There is a true spirit behind the brand. His clothes represent a certain attitude that is not dependent on trend. This really is something new for the market.”
Lim said the explosion in fashion in China fascinates him, as does the speed at which consumers here have adapted their tastes.
“I make clothes that pick up the energy of what is happening around me,” said Lim, relaxing on a sofa on the top floor of Beijing’s Park Hyatt hotel, taking in a rare view of far-off mountains on a smog-free day.
The store event marked Lim's sixth trip to China, but the designer has yet to visit his parents’ ancestral cities.