Luxury houses are always trying to identify a new market and it would seem that Kazakhstan is on the radar for many.
Last week Prada opened their first store there in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The stunning store opened in Esentai, the city’s high-end shopping mall.
The 740sqm boutique was designed by Roberto Baciocchi and offers the lastest women’s and men’s ready-to-wear collections, bags, accessories and footwear collections.
The boutique’s impressive external angular facade pays tribute to the French-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez, one of the founders of the Kinetic movement. A chequered classic black and white marble floor adorns the boutique, which is a legacy of Prada’s history identity.
But it’s not just Prada who has opened a boutique there this year, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Saks Fifth Avenue all opened in Kazakhstan in 2012 and it is still ‘rumoured’ that Chanel are entertaining the idea of having a boutique there.
Why Kazakhstan? The former Soviet republic is the ninth largest country in the world, owing most of its wealth to the oil industry. In saying this, the country was not safe from the international economic crisis and the economy has slowed down in the past four years, which has somewhat stalled the buying power of the wealthy. But nonetheless, people are still spending on high-end luxury items, causing the luxury houses to create a presence there.
Esentai Park, which is somewhat seen as a luxury hub is a mixed development of approximately 8.7 ha comprises of seven buildings: the Esentai Tower and Ballroom, three residential towers, a fitness centre and a shopping mall, all of which take up a space of 368,000sqm.
But, The MO Down has to wonder if these new stores will be sustainable given the seemingly high level of corruption that one reads about and the authoritarian presidential regime which have largely kept away direct international investments in the country. Food for thought…
By Cassandra Murnieks
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