Japan designer Yohji Yamamoto plans flagship store in China

TOKYO — Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto plans to open a flagship store in China in coming years as his brand, despite filing for bankruptcy last year, eyes Asia's growing class of luxury shoppers.


Photo: AFP

The iconic designer, famous for his black minimalist creations, said after a Tokyo show Thursday (1 April) night that he plans to open new shops for his eponymous label in China, although he did not set a specific date.

The fashion house, founded in the 1970s, is undergoing restructuring with help from investment fund Integral Corporation after crumbling under a mountain of debt worth 67 million dollars amid the global economic crisis.

"I am receiving ample funds to pursue my operations. The bankruptcy filing has in no way hampered my creativity," the 66-year-old told reporters.

The avant-garde designer made his homecoming on Thursday 1 April, holding a men's show in Japan for the first time in nearly two decades, which attracted a crowd of 3,000 spectators and celebrities.

The fashion house already has several stores of its Y's brand in China as well as its Y-3 sportswear line co-branded and distributed by Adidas.

Yamamoto electrified the fashion world in the 1980s with austere white and black designs that contrasted with the decade's extravagance and colourful exuberance.

With luxury sales slumping in traditional markets in Japan, the United States and Europe, fashion houses are shifting their focus to emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil and Russia.

Although Japan has long been a big market for luxury brands, China has become the Asian hotspot for establishing their regional flagship stores.

Louis Vuitton opened its Asian flagship store in Shenzhen last year, and Italy's Bottega Veneta opened its own two weeks ago in Taiwan. Salvatore Ferragamo is to open its largest Asian store in Shanghai this month.

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