Fashion in Full Bloom
With its tenant mix of cutting edge brands, Raffles City Beijing promises to fulfil the desires of every fashionista’s heart.
Issue: Jul 2009
Fashion's clean palette showcased at a fashion show at Raffles City Beijing - the Heart of Fashion
CapitaLand's Raffles City Beijing is its first integrated development in Beijing offering office, retail, and serviced residence. It is located in the prime district of Dongzhimen, in the core of the business zone of East Second Ring Road, and connected seamlessly to Asia’s largest transportation hub.
[Left]Raffles City Beijing: CapitaLand's flagship integrated development brand in Dongcheng district, Beijing
[Right]The Crystal Lotus beneath which the Heart of Fashion beats.
Upon entering Raffles City Beijing, visitors will be awed by the Crystal Lotus blooming above the marble floor in the middle of the mall. Translucent and mesmerising, it is an instantly recognisable Asian motif which represents enlightenment. In the fashion world, it could represent beauty rising above the mundane.
The Raffles City Beijing retail mall is positioning itself as a trendsetter in fashion and lifestyle: "The Heart of Fashion" to be exact. Its marketing taglines: "the woman who is in pursuit of fashion is always fashionable" and "live your own life and let your lifestyle represent you" urge shoppers to celebrate their unique tastes.
People at the mall's June 5 opening said it certainly lived up to its name as the "Heart of Fashion". They liked its avant garde design and the great customer service. As one patron puts it, "This is a sophisticated environment."
[Left] Raffles City Beijing drums up excitement amongst fashionistas at its official opening
[Right] Mr Yang Liu Yin, Party Secretary of Beijing Dongcheng District (right) and Mr Liew Mun Leong, President and CEO of CapitaLand launched the opening of Raffles City Beijing retail mall on 5 June 2009
Each floor is themed for a more streamlined shopping experience. Level 1 is dubbed Celebrity Walk with international brands such as Zara, CK Jeans and Lacoste. Level 2 or Vogue Avenue targets business executives and features Milan-based Asobio and Danish fashion giant Vera Moda.
Chic Zone on Level 3 caters to the youth market with Ochirly, a popular Chinese brand, and Australia’s Forever New. Level 4 or Chill Out Place sports leisurewear brands such as Speedo and Malaysian men’s underwear label Private Structure. Chef’s Choice on Level 5 houses a good mix of restaurants.
Retailers are reporting a very healthy traffic flow with a steady stream of commuters, tourists, business people and youths who like the eclectic mix of tenants – with some brands available in Beijing for the first time.
One of these is M)phosis. Exciting times are ahead for what was essentially a Singapore brand producing clothes for a South-east Asian market. M)phosis’ fashion forward accessories and body-conscious clothes with excellent drape are making inroads into the Chinese market. Head honcho Hensley Teh considers CapitaLand a valuable partner in growing his brand into an international one.
Singapore brand M)phosis aims to take on the Chinese market with its debut in Beijing
The managing director says, "With our entry into the Chinese market, our design team will take on the challenge of four-season merchandising for the first time. We will put our own stamp on autumn and winter clothing."
The company had a prominent ground floor position at Raffles City Singapore for nine years. Their good relationship there obviously led to further "collaborations". Now they have two stores in China at Raffles City Beijing and Cloud 9 in Shanghai, which is also managed by CapitaLand.
Teh feels that Raffles City Beijing's strong emphasis on fashion is very much in line with the company's. It is in a trendy area and will attract young adults looking for mid-range clothes which are fashionable and affordable. He says the company has had good initial responses at both locations in China and he is optimistic about the future.
Young At Heart
Another satisfied tenant is Swedish fast-fashion chain H&M, occupying two floors with a floor area of around 1,200 sq m; with men's and women's wear and Divided, their "young concept" targeting 15- to 25- year-olds. It is their third branch in Beijing.
Beauty product specialty stores such as Sephora completes the Heart of Fashion equation at Raffles City Beijing
Says Anne Wu, H&M's PR Manager for China, "The most important factors which determine where we open new stores are customer base, best location and best business conditions. Our stores must always be in the best business location in a town or shopping centre. Our store in Raffles City Beijing meets the requirements and we are happy with it."
Aimed specifically towards the youth market, Bershka from Spain is part of the INDITEX textile group and is a sister company to Zara. The latter is famed for inventing fast fashion, a business model that moves garments from the design table to stores quickly; merchandise are replenished every two weeks. Bershka's jeans, casual and urban wear are expected to draw youth who want to make a quirky fashion statement. The brand's edgy cool fits right in with the vibe of the mall as a trendy, vibrant place to be.
Make-up and skincare junkies can head down to Sephora, the beauty product speciality store, L’Occitane the French bodycare line and Japan’s natural make-up brand Orbis which is in Beijing for the first time.
Foodies will be over the moon with the choices open to them: Häagen-Dazs, Taiwanese food chain Bellagio, and the popular Hong Kong sweet shop Man Zi Desserts. Making its China debut is Singaporean restaurant BALIthai, which serves up a spicy mix of Indonesian and Thai cuisine.
Another crowd-puller would be Raffles Picnic – a food hall where myriad cuisines can be savoured in a single, well-designed space. This very Singaporean way of eating proved to be so popular at CapitaLand’s Raffles City Shanghai that the group has replicated it in Beijing.
Local fashion design students showcase their latest creations at Raffles City Beijing retail mall's soft launch in April 2009
With its offerings, Raffles City Beijing is expected to change one of Beijing’s liveliest districts by putting its distinctive mark on the fashion, food and property sectors.
Fashionistas - keep your eyes on this mall. Come Beijing Fashion Week next year, who knows what marvels will be found at the Heart of Fashion?