Mugler Launches First Retail Activation in China

Mugler Launches First Retail Activation in China

The Brand’s Year-Long Pop-Up Store in Shanghai Marks Its First Physical Retail Move Into the Chinese Market

Mugler has made its official debut in the Chinese market with a yearlong pop-up store in Réel, a luxury mall in downtown Shanghai. The store showcases the label’s fashion and fragrance goods, positioning it next to other big-name brands Dries Van Noten and Thom Browne.

The store’s design aesthetic, composed of sharply angled fins and louvers in the signature Mugler blue, delivers an immersive art installation experience upon entering. “We wanted to encapsulate forward-looking architecture that still resonates in a chic and timeless way,” stated Casey Cadwallader, creative director of Mugler. “It can be a little bit unexpected and interesting sculpturally,” he added.

Collaborating with British architect Sophie Hicks to design the store, Cadwallader’s architectural background brought to life a brushed aluminum structure that cleverly navigated height constraints. The sleek structure is fully recyclable and demountable. “This is our first experiment in that territory. Now we can keep refining it,” Cadwallader added.

Heading into the store, customers are met with a striking bustier dress from the brand’s spring 2024 collection and a larger-than-life display of Mugler’s Art Deco-inspired Les Exceptions perfume bottle. The shop also carries Mugler’s latest ready-to-wear collection, accessories, handbags, and signature scents, including Angel and Alien, alongside six scents from the Les Exceptions range.

Mugler’s first venture into China was a successful pop-up at Shanghai’s Machine-A last April. Working with Réel represents a consistent strategy to communicate “the right mix of luxury and fashion-forwardness,” according to Adrian Corsin, managing director of Mugler. “Réel feels like the right place in that there’s really the clientele that Mugler is speaking to right now,” Corsin continued.

Cadwallader agreed, adding that opening the brand’s first pop-up as in China as it held a unique energy compared to Europe when it comes to fashion and expression. The designer further emphasized his vision for the brand, sharing his desire for coexistence of fashion and fragrance under one roof.

Seen as the initiation of the Mugler story in China, Corsin added that the brand is in the early phases of dipping their toes deeper into the Chinese market, aiming for a steady and strategic approach. With Asia being the fastest growing market, Corsin revealed plans to introduce new experiences and elements to the local market later this year, which may involve replicating the Réel store model in other cities.

Despite acknowledging the difficulties in the current climate, both Corsin and Cadwallader remain confident. Corsin states that their strategy centers around “responding to wherever people, particularly in China, would like us to be.” Cadwallader adds that they will continue refining, learning, and adapting to their customers’ needs.

Following their successful showcases of handbags and perfume, the next phase of Mugler’s China rollout might focus on another key category. As revealed by Cadwallader, upcoming expansions include flat shoes, high-tech knitwear for both men and women, and widening the range of their denim collection.