“I’ve Always Had A Very Special Relationship With China”
This week, Giorgio Armani will be the latest fashion heavyweight to drop into Beijing, stopping by the city to celebrate more than a decade of Armani in China. Coming years after previous China whistle-stops at Three on the Bund in 2004 and a traveling exhibition organized by the Guggenheim Museum in Shanghai back in 2006. Armani’s “One Night Only in Beijing” event takes place on May 31 at the New Tank in the city’s 798 Art District, the largest such fashion happening at that venue. The event will center around a runway show “presenting the world of Armani” — or at least the Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani A/W 2012-2013 men’s and women’s collections, Giorgio Armani Privé S/S 2012 collection, and 15 Giorgio Armani Privé couture looks “created specifically as a tribute to China” to around 1,000 attendees.
Lest he be accused of jumping on the Beijing bandwagon, as his event follows similar soirées by the likes of Lanvin, Alexander Wang and Hugo Boss, Giorgio Armani said that he has long been drawn to the city, having opened his first boutique there in 1998 and adding that he was “one of the first to recognise the potential of the Chinese market.” Armani noted that the presentation of his collections in Beijing was “edited just for this purpose,” and that the celebration, rather than being an end in itself, presents “an opportunity to present the research program I have developed with Tsinghua University: an initiative I hold very dear, building another bridge between East and West, through the successful exchange of culture and know-how, supporting the new talent the region has to offer.”
Following Armani’s Beijing event, the brand will make perhaps its most ambitious foray into the world of social media to date with the launch of its new #ArmaniTweetTalks series on June 1. Hyped as “a series of open discussions taking place entirely on Twitter,” the series brings together a group of fashion bloggers, editors and industry types to discuss a topic — in the case of the first installment, “China, the New Fashion Superpower” — and answer questions submitted by Twitter users from around the world. According to Armani, the first #ArmaniTweetTalks will delve into China’s growing presence on the world fashion stage: “As Chinese models, actors and editors become a staple of Western red carpets, front rows and mastheads, we look at how this will remodel the current fashion panorama.”
Discussing the first topic on June 1 will be Angelica Cheung (Editor-in-Chief, Vogue China), Hung Huang (Publisher, Blogger, TV Commentator and Tastemaker), Godfrey Deeny (Globetrotting Fashion Critic), Federico Marchetti (Founder & CEO, YOOX Group), Susanna Lau (Fashion Writer and Blogger, stylebubble.co.uk) and Tommy Ton (Photographer, jakandjil.com). The virtual discussion will be moderated by fashion editor and author Peter Howarth.
Users can learn more about the panelists, access the submitted questions and take part in the discussion on June 1 at the special microsite, Armani.com/tweettalks. While a unique concept and smart use of social media, the only unfortunate thing is that — for all of Armani’s interest in the China market and “special relationship” with the country — the fact that Twitter is blocked in China and the discussion will be held in English means relatively few China-based fashion fans will be able to enjoy the series.