Beijing, China

1st March 2013 David Leung from Coterie in Beijing shares with Eyestylist the history and direction of his glamorous boutique.

Please give a background of the boutique. “Three of us, all fashion addicts, came together in late 2011 and started the Coterie project. For us, it is exciting to be the first to introduce many top eyewear designers and their collections to China. We strongly believe when consumers are offered more choices, they will start to understand that good eyewear is more than just a luxury name tagged onto the temple of an average product. We created the interior space design ourselves. We believe the best background to frame eyewear is white. It is the only colour that allows the subtle colour differences – both the lens and the frame – to be fully revealed. And since we are so into originality and the beauty of vintage, it came to us naturally that the space would have no option but to be European-style inspired – and all-white.

“One of our boutiques sits in a very interesting mall in Beijing called Parkviewgreen. The entire mall is covered with glass walls from top to bottom – like a greenhouse. Abundant sunlight penetrates the mall, and makes you feel like you are walking outdoors. Since the mall owner is also the biggest art collector in Hong Kong, he displays lots of his interesting and stunning collections – including Salvador Dali – in the mall. When people walk in, it is not only about shopping, but also an experience that resembles going to an exhibition.”

You stock European/North American labels – are your customers inspired by fashion from these countries? “To us, there are two major reasons why we are more inclined to labels from Europe and North America. First of all, these countries are also where most of the world’s fashion ideas come from. We can see breakthrough new attempts every season, and that’s inspiring! Amazingly, while innovation is there, we also see a lot of brands that have a long history successfully keeping their craftsmanship and spirit in their collections. It is heritage and it is not replaceable.”

.."not only about shopping..also an experience that resembels going to an exhibition." David Leung Coterie
..”not only about shopping..also an experience that resembles going to an exhibition.” David Leung – Coterie

Your customer profile? “Most of our consumers come from the fashion world. They are celebrities, actresses/actors, fashion editors, models and trend lovers.”

For Spring/Sumer 2013 – what are customers looking  in eyewear? “We believe black/gold, with acetate plus metal parts will be still on the spot. Slowly, we see metal as a material (or partially metal) coming back on stage as a trend. Green/dark green will become a colour to go for this season. Mirrored lenses and frames and lenses in the same colour are options to many who are bored with normal gradient grey/brown lenses. Wellington styles, oversize, cat-eye, flat-top and vintage revamps will be some of the most favourable shapes in 2013.”

Do you have events in the boutique? “We love modern artwork, and therefore we regularly invite artists to have their exhibition in our stores. We had Chenman – the photographer – create a series of images for us when we launched the project. And it was followed by ceramic artist Nutz Luk, and Graffiti artist Hurricane from Oops in May and November last year. In 2013, we will have Casper from Disiniok, creating special fashion illustrations and an exhibit in Coterie in March. Besides artist collaborations, we also create special edition products with brands. Last year, we did projects with EK Paris, Neighborhood Eyewear, Graz Eyewear and Dita Legend. We are now working on a few special limited edition projects, hoping that will help draw more and more attention from consumers in China.

“In April we will have Mik Somers from theo coming to China and we will have interviews with the media. We are also working on a pop-up store project with a brand, and if everything goes smoothly, it should land in Beijing this summer.” JG