Water Stone II
When I first learned via Weibo that Water Stone, a 798 retail stalwart, was debuting a second branch in Jianwai Soho, I was curious – curious about what it’d look like, how/whether it’d distinguish itself and why it would choose that mess of buildings in the CBD.
Upon my visit, I realized that the owner Mr. Jiang had moved into Vega Zaishi Wang’s enviable space downstairs by the parking lot after she’d relocated to Gulou. She had worked miracles on that shop, adding quirky décor touches (i.e. oversized spools of thread, antique furniture, bug art) to really make it her own.
Mr. Jiang could not match her impeccable style, but he certainly tried – and in any case, Water Stone's impressive variety of international cult designers might hold more appeal for the local shoppers. He has positioned Water Stone's trademark deer head forebodingly at the window, and opened up the second floor to accommodate his vast collection of clothing.
Mr. Jiang tells me that this new branch will stock more commercial and wearable fashion, whereas 798’s will remain more art-minded and avant-garde. Many of the Japanese experimental brands Water Stone became renowned for can also be found here (i.e. Obscur, Kei Kagami, Nozomi Ishiguro), along with Christopher Kane, Jeremy Scott, Yohan Kim, Ground Zero and more. Prices start from around RMB 500 and go upwards of thousands of kuai.
The ground floor features mostly Japanese experimental brands like Kei Kagami here (hence all the black).
Most of the shades on display are by Jeremy Scott.
Water Stone is the exclusive Beijing stockist for Shaun Samson, a brand also stocked by Opening Ceremony.
The second floor is designated for more colorful, playful streetwear.
Jeremy Scott x adida's sneaker collection is (unfortunately) stocked here. I feel the same way about Jeremy Scott as I do about Ed Hardy, which is to say ... I stay far, far away from the people who wear them.
My personal favorite (the only brand I'd really wear in the shop) is Sophie Hulme to the left.
A closer look at Sophie Hulme.
Probably the "tamest" pair of shoes I could find in Water Stone.
phenomenon beyond description makes all of their jewelry out of vintage silver coins.
The sign is surprisingly minimalist-chic compared to the store's wares.
Daily 10am-10pm. Unit 0662, B/1F (walk down the stairs outside by Building 6, next to the parking lot), Building 6, Jianwai Soho, 39 Dongsanhuan Zhonglu, Chaoyang District (5869 9456) www.waterstone.com.cn
*Photos by me. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting.