Hong Kong design, fashion and lifestyle store Lane Crawford has just opened the doors to an ambitious new venture: the largest shoes and accessories showcase on the continent. Conceived by Asia's design golden boy, Andre Fu, the new Shoe Library covers 25,000 sq ft, with over 200 brands lining six distinct zones.
Step through the Canton Road entrance of the store and you find yourself in the 'Great Room', the mainstay of the entire space, featuring a soaring 5m high ceiling, library armoires in bronze and abstract French panels. Floors are finished in Romano marble and covered with elaborate rugs from the Andre Fu Collection for Tai Ping Carpets. There are also eighty-something bespoke pieces of furniture dotted around the entire Library, among them The Salon's 5m long table with Alberto Giacometti inspired legs, and hand-embroidered silk wall panels echoing the work of French fashion illustrator Christian Berard, in warm shades of solferino and lilac.
The mood changes from zone to zone, with the Contemporary space delineated by a striking paneled backdrop. 'The overall experience is designed to evoke the concept of a journey,' says Fu. In contrast to his past hospitality experience where all elements are created in totality, 'the main challenge was creating a number of visual enclaves that can adapt to seasonal product changes'.
Certainly the Market Place, with its inter-changeable dark wood room dividers, massive glass cabinets, raw linens and silver tones, provides a perfect backdrop for this seasonal play. Meanwhile, sheathed within a floor-to-ceiling glassed area, the Blitz zone is dedicated to unique periodical international collaborations. Early next year will see Manolo Blahnik celebrates his label's 40th Anniversary here.
At the end of the journey is the Library Café, where well-heeled shoppers can replenish themselves with fashion-inspired pastries by Bonnie Gokson's Ms B Cakery. There are also reviving dishes from around the globe, as well as from Hong Kong restaurant, Yardbird.