a hole in the wall. as unattractive as it may sound, the quirky anchoret boutique in beijing redefines with a setting that has been fully embraced by its discerning clientele. tucked away in a tree-lined back street of sanlitun – a leafy shopping destination and one of the few old neighbourhoods of the chinese capital where traditional hutong dwellings have successfully withstood agressive urban redevelopment – the store design is a collab between savvy husband-and-wife entrepreneurs on kit wong and kayuet chau, and speys, and architecture practice based in the chinese capital and warsaw. raised and educated abroad, the audacious couple set out to introduce high-end forward fashion to the people's republic at a time the fashion vocabulary of their target demographic largely consisted of ubiquitous luxury brands.
previously located elsewhere in this sprawling city, the new anchoret store very much reflects its success and a grwoing interest among discerning chinese in quality labels that offer an alternative and more edgy kind of luxury. the store occupies an elongated space which is divided into four separate sections. the aforementioned hole in the wall is where shoppers enter the premises, and is in fact a concrete-framed opening that stands out from the red bricks it's embedded in. a floor-to-ceiling glass façade allows full view of anchoret's front shop section, a whitewashed, airy room which serves as an installation space for its coveted merchandise.
the following section mainly presents the women's collections and accessories, and this space is defined by a chunky custom-made wooden register, shelving and suspended clothing racks along one side. up next is a compact anteroom which doubles as a changing room and presents more accessories and footwear. at the far end, the final room mainly presents the men's collections. the austerity of the setting is spiced up by reclaimed wood elements and exposed water installations. a unifying element of anchoret's rooms undoubtedly is the patchwork look of the building's original ceiling. the boutiques stocks a range of brands that are hard to find in beijing, and currently inlcludes coveted names such as undercover, yohji yamamoto, vetements, yang li and mad et len. location: 25 sanlitun bei lu [sanlitun].
© ludwik kaizerbrecht