Ennio Capasa, the Italian designer and founder of fashion label Costume National and diffusion line C'N'C, projects a certain rock 'n' roll coolness in his slick, all-black look - rebellious but precise.
Capasa was in Hong Kong for the opening of two boutiques in the city: the two-storey Harbour City store, and a men's branch in the basement of The Landmark (Costume National's only menswear outlet worldwide). He says more openings are planned for Shanghai over the next four months.
'I think you have to start in Hong Kong because it is, with Tokyo, the capital of fashion in Asia,' he says.
Known for his minimalist and futuristic style, Capasa designs stores as extensions of the brand identity. Suspended steel in chrome mirror finish and geometric rails define the Hong Kong interiors. 'We try to do something very simple,' says Capasa. 'The most important thing is to make the clothes really 'appear', so we were lucky to find this great space [in Harbour City].'
Costume National's subdued rock aesthetic - a far cry from the welter of flashy Italian labels - has earned it a cult following in Asia. Along with the likes of Helmut Lang, in the 1990s, Capasa took men's fashion down a modern, minimalist route. With an eye on technical innovation, it now has a loyal following worldwide, including celebrities Angelina Jolie, David Bowie and Keanu Reeves.
Costume National boutiques are at Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, TST, tel: 2317 1845; Landmark Men, Basement, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2501 0308