French fashion legend makes China foray

French company Maria Luisa has partnered with Hong Kong-based Mazly Fashion Group to expand into China.

The partners plan to open 40 stores within the next three years across China.

Maria Luisa was established in 1988 by Maria Luisa and her husband Daniel Poumaillou. From the very beginning, their first Maria Luisa boutique was conceived as an alternative to the then quite sleepy and conservative Faubourg Saint Honoré, the traditional neighbourhood for luxury.

Since then, Maria Luisa has offered a selection of designers who have deeply influenced the next decades, such as the British Galliano, Westwood and McQueen, the first generation of Belgium designers (Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester), the Japanese (Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons), and even Helmut Lang.

Luisa has always run her stores the same way, “pursuing modernity and seeking young talents”.

She said she decided to expand into China because she believes China is the “new United States” in fashion terms.

“Cities like London and New York have been strong players in the fashion industry for the past century, with lots of competition already. To discover a new market – that is fascinating to me,” she said.

Maria Luisa, through partner Sidefame, also runs a store in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay.

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