Balenciaga brings ‘raw’ aesthetic to new Chengdu store

What happened: On July 30, Balenciaga will open a new flagship store in the Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li shopping center in Chengdu, expanding its network of stores in China to 40. designs with traditional luxury details. stretching two stories, the 552 square meter store features a deliberately unfinished interior – exposed cables and piping, scuffed floor panels and distressed faux leather seats – that serves as a cool, monochromatic backdrop for Balenciaga’s latest collections.

“The opening of the Balenciaga Chengdu Flagship is a significant milestone for Balenciaga, being one of the most modern centers of our time where global thinkers, creativity and tradition powerfully coexist,” said Cédric Charbit, CEO of Balenciaga.

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Balenciaga’s “Raw Architecture” concepts feature urban spaces that are abandoned and in progress (swipe left). Photo: Courtesy of Balenciaga. Photographer: Boris [email protected] PAY

To celebrate the launch, the Chengdu boutique will feature a series of exclusive merchandise, including dresses based on Balenciaga Couture archive pieces and a Balenciaga Chengdu-stamped Cities Series reusable coffee mug. The opening also features logo-patterned rhinestone-studded bags, a special-edition Paris Sneaker and a preview of Spring 2023.

The Jing plug: As China emerges from an extended lockdown and the economy slowly recovers, Balenciaga knows that improving the retail experience is key to attracting consumers. As well as launching exclusive products, the Kering-owned brand has also collaborated with award-winning Dutch designer Tejo Remy to produce an installation as part of his ongoing Art in Stores project. The new outpost sees vintage and unsold fabrics transformed into two custom functional benches, which reflect the brand’s commitment to supporting both sustainability and the arts.

Dutch artist Tejo Remy created a custom bench for the Chengdu store. Photo: Courtesy of Balenciaga. Photographer: Boris [email protected] PAY

Landing in Chengdu is another strategic decision by Balenciaga. house for 21 million peoplethe capital of Sichuan province has the 7th highest GDP among major Chinese cities (from 2021) and serves as a gateway for wealthy buyers in the southwest region. Indeed, according to local governmentChengdu welcomed 801 top global mainstream brand stores last year alone, ranking third after Shanghai and Beijing. Louis Vuitton and Missoni are just a few of the luxury names that have expanded their presence there in 2022, testifying to the city’s fashion consumption.

This new opening is the final chapter in Balenciaga’s China playbook. Earlier this month, the French luxury house took a futuristic approach to Qixi Festival with robot-centric creative filming. Before that, she celebrated her return to haute couture by presenting her 50th Couture Collection in Shanghai for local VIPs unable to travel to Paris. Together, these moves help cement Balenciaga’s position in its strongest ready-to-wear market and serve as an example to the world of what experiential retail can look like in post-COVID China.

The Jing Plug reports on high-profile news and features our editorial team’s analysis of key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product declines and mergers to heated debates popping up on Chinese social media.

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