Certainly, with a Mount Street location, Zhang means business with his first brick-and-mortar store. Neighbours include Céline, Balenciaga and Christopher Kane, making it a mecca for high fashion consumers.
The Chinese-born designer, whose Spring/Summer 2018 show takes place at London Fashion Week on Monday, says he chose London as the location for his debut store because, to him, the city is home. “After 11 years, I still feel that London is the place I want to live and build my home,” he says. “The city has offered me a lot of opportunities and after all that, I feel it’s time to celebrate by really making London a permanent home for the brand and myself.”
Zhang — who has 40 stockists across Asia, Europe and the US including Bergdorf Goodman, MatchesFashion.com, Selfridges and Etoile — sees an opportunity in the store to offer a bespoke, immersive service to his clientele. “It’s a really beautiful portal to communicate more directly with our customer, to understand their needs and to create a wardrobe for them,” he says. “We’re not only providing the Huishan Zhang product, but we also want to provide the Huishan Zhang spirit.”
The interior of the store is inspired by Chinese gardens, projecting an East-meets-West aesthetic found in Zhang's collections. The space is filled with quintessentially British plants and Chinese symbolism. “We have an arch in the shape of the number eight — a Chinese lucky number and the lucky number of the brand — which is a signature feature of Chinese gardens,” Zhang says. “We also commissioned artists to create special tiles for the store, which have been moulded off real flowers from gardens in London.”
Zhang cut his teeth working in Dior’s haute couture and leather goods atelier after he was discovered by Delphine Arnault during his third year at Central Saint Martins. He's now part of a new guard of Chinese designers — including Angel Chen and Xander Zhou — making waves internationally. "I’m very proud that there is so much diversity with Chinese labels designing for so many different women internationally,” says Zhang. “I’m really glad to be a part of this generation.”
With the help of his atelier in China, the store will be stocked with "Huishan Zhang Editions" — eight exclusive pieces from the label's archive. “We’ve been able to rework some things that we’ve done in the past to showcase the brand’s history,” he says. As for future retail expansion, "We keep growing internationally from retail to wholesale, and we’re very pleased about the level we have accomplished so far," he says. "That said, we’re ready to increase our existing partnerships, and are open to opportunities that will keep our retail spaces — built on craftsmanship and quality — growing across the world."
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