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Manolo Blahnik Strides Into Hong Kong With Longtime Partner Bluebell Group

The British footwear and accessories brand has inked a further deal with Bluebell Group, and the partners opened their first store in Hong Kong over the weekend.

Manolo Blahnik Strides Into Hong Kong With Longtime Partner Bluebell Group

An image of the new Manolo Blahnik store in Hong Kong’s Lee Gardens. Two further units are planned for Hong Kong in the next 12 months.

LONDON — Manolo Blahnik Group has opened its first store in Hong Kong, part of a new joint venture with its longtime partner in Asia, Bluebell Group.  

Manolo Blahnik and brand operator Bluebell have existing partnerships in other Asian markets such as Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.

The London-based brand said the Hong Kong joint venture will further support its strategic growth plans in the Asia Pacific, and give it more control over store management and image in the region.

The first boutique opened in Hong Kong’s Lee Gardens shopping center on March 22, while a second one is set for Pacific Place shopping center in the final quarter of 2024. A third store is also in the works, with the location to be confirmed.

Designed by Nick Leith-Smith Architecture and Design, the Lee Gardens boutique has a geometric design as its focal point and a square, paneled shelving system on the interior walls. The shelves are visible through the curved glass storefront.

Inspired by a concept initially used in the Manolo Blahnik boutique in London’s Burlington Arcade, the design has been updated with the addition of a silk color gradient lining on the shelving where product is displayed.

Kristina Blahnik, chief executive officer of Manolo Blahnik, said the Hong Kong joint venture marks the next phase of its relationship with Bluebell Group, and furthers its ambition to grow in the “dynamic” Hong Kong market.

Manolo Blahnik Strides Into Hong Kong With Longtime Partner Bluebell Group

Inside the new Manolo Blahnik store in Hong Kong.

“Bluebell Group has been our established partner for over a decade and the mutual trust we have in each other has given us this wonderful new opportunity to enhance our offering in Hong Kong and tell the incredibly rich story of our heritage and craft,” she added.

Ashley Micklewright, president and CEO of Bluebell Group, said: “Our strong relationship with the brand in other key Asian markets, and mutual trust built over a decade, has paved the way for this exciting partnership into Hong Kong.”

Samy Redjeb, Bluebell Greater China managing director, who will oversee the brand’s operations in the market, added: “We are confident that the people of Hong Kong will continue to embrace Manolo Blahnik’s unique blend of craftsmanship and creativity.”

Manolo Blahnik has been taking its international expansion plans up a gear with the appointment last June of Elodie Bougenault to the position of global chief commercial officer.

Bougenault has been leading the expansion strategy, with a particular focus on the Asian market. The market has been a priority for Manolo Blahnik following its victory in 2022 in a longstanding intellectual property battle in the Chinese courts.

Other changes have been closer to home. Last September Manolo Blahnik relocated its U.K. global headquarters from Marylebone to an historic Georgian building in London’s Mayfair, with more than 14,500 gross square feet of office, showroom and meeting spaces.

As reported, Manolo Blahnik had a milestone year in 2022, with sales rising 69 percent to 118.2 million euros and pretax profit more than tripling to 21.9 million euros on the back of robust demand for styles including the Hangisi and the Maysale. Although the company is based in the U.K., it reports results in euros because it manufactures in Italy.

The company thanked its employees by handing out more than 1 million euros in bonuses in November 2022. Operating profit increased fivefold to 23.7 million euros in the 12 months to Dec. 31, 2022.