BEIJING - If you enter Louis Vuitton's new boutique in the Peninsula Hotel Beijing, the first thing that pops into sight is a shelf where various kinds of bags are placed. In the centre is a light violet Capucine bag. The luxury brand has only produced eight of these bags for China.
The limited-edition bag illustrates the importance of this newly opened boutique. The French luxury house Louis Vuitton opened its first boutique store in the Chinese mainland at this hotel in early 1992. After two decades, it has expanded, refreshed its original decor and re-opened this month.
"Now, the store has expanded from one floor to three floors, meeting the various needs of both men and women. We will continuously create the luxurious and alluring shopping experience for Beijing consumers," says Philippe Fortunato, Louis Vuitton North Asia president.
Occupying 1,137 square meters, the boutique has three floors. The first floor is a place to display and sell leather products, jewelry, timepieces and limited-edition items like Capucine bags. The second floor is mainly devoted to womenswear, divided into ready-to-wear and haute couture sections. The ground floor sells men's products as well as travel luggage, from trunks to suitcases.
There is a colorful plate in the centre of a leather box in a secret corner on the second floor. It looks like an artist's palette. But upon closer inspection, the customer will notice that the colors on the plate are different leathers.
Louis Vuitton has introduced this Haute Maroquinerie service to this boutique. The service allows customers to pick from eight fine leathers specially provided by the label, and then choose from 27 colors, to create their own handbags. Customers can also put their names on the inner lining of the handbags.
The newly opened boutique store is a little bit "artistic". Beside the stairs on the first floor is a giant golden sculpture. Twisting and expanding like a rising spiral, the art piece Divide is from British sculptor Tony Cragg.
There are also two paintings in the store. One is Meldi, created by French artist Bernard Frize in 2012. This giant oil painting is simple from a distance, but when looked at closely, it is a complex structure of detailed small lines and various colors. The other work is On Travel 108, painted by Remy Markowitsch in 1998. The beautiful scenery in the painting matches Louis Vuitton's core spirit: traveling.
Chinese actress Gong Li attended the opening ceremony, carrying a scarlet Melas bag from the label.