Sadly, several of the interesting single-building boutiques tucked neatly away at the end of On Lan Street are being forced to move out. Walking on nearby Ice House Street the other day, I was shocked to see new Comme des Garcons, Martin Margiela, and Neighborhood stores under construction.
The charming old buildings that house the notable boutiques have been sold (and will soon be demolished!) Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the brands or not, it’s disappointing to see an interesting section of Central’s landscape disappear.[photopress:Martin_Margiela_Hong_kong_HK.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:On_Lan_street_Hong_Kong.jpg,full,pp_image]
The end of On Lan Street is currently a quaint, low-level oasis in hectic, high-rise Central. Though none of the above stores have been there long compared to D-Mop, the high-fashion retailer that anchors the block, the I.T. Group did a noteworthy job designing the boutiques and bringing a special vibe to the street.
Glancing at a map of shops in the area resembles looking at a Monopoly board – with I.T. operated shores occupying most of the properties! Over the last three years they have built up a major section of Wyndham Street (intersects with On Lan Street,) and made it convenient for people to browse high-end fashion brands (in separate shops,) all within easy reach. Together, the two streets have brought a much needed contemporary edge to Central, which, for a while, seemed to be overtaken by Causeway Bay.
The transition to the new location is apparently going to be fast. The notice on the windows of Comme des Garcons and Martin Margiela mentions December! No wonder it looked like they were working in a hurry when I walked by.[photopress:Comme_des_garcon_shop_HK.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Hoods_Hong_Kong_WTAPS_HK.jpg,full,pp_image]
One thing about the older stand-alone buildings that will surely be missed is that the brand had full control over the facade.[photopress:neighborhood_Hong_Kong_store.jpg,full,pp_image] Billionaire Boys Club with rocket ship exterior, Hoods Hong Kong in black
In the case of the On Lan Street shops, I.T. did a fantastic job endowing each one with a branded personality. Attached to a larger, multi-tenant building, it will be very difficult to recreate something similar.
One question I was left asking – does this mean that the Billionaire Boys store will cease to exist, or just relocate to a new area? The Ice Cream / Billionaire Boys Club store is one of the most impressive boutiques in the city. From its interesting exterior, to its multi-level themed decor (including ice-cream sandwich benches,) it’s a textbook definition of a well-branded shop.
We’ve covered the growth of On Lan Street extensively over the years. Follow the links to read our previous coverage about Ice Cream / BBC, Martin Margiela, Deep Anger, Neighborhood, Dsquared, and Hong Kong flagship stores in general.