Western Designers Continue To Use Chinese Design Cues; But Will Chinese Designers Do The Same In Shanghai?
The Fall/Winter fashion shows have come to an end and, once again, China was heavy on the minds of those in the luxury realm. Jing Daily has reported on the China-inspired collections of Ralph Lauren this season, as well as that of Louis Vuitton and Chanel in the past. This growing trend, which mixes business interests with creative output, showed itself at a number of other shows as well.
Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci’s Asian-inspired haute couture collection in January featured an all Asian model cast, with Chinese models making up the majority. The Chinese models included Ming Xi, Liu Wen, Shu Pei Qin, Fei Fei Sun, Du Juan, and Jiang Xiao Yi.
The French luxury house is part of the LVMH group (previously on Jing Daily), which counts Asia as one of its top markets, accounting for 34 percent of the group’s sales last year, equal to Europe. Givenchy plans to open ten new stores across Asia this year, with six being in China. Wilfred Koo, President of China, Asia Pacific at Givenchy, recently told Reuters that Givenchy “started early in China,” and already has 64 stores in China that span first- and second-tier cities. Continuing, Koo said, “what’s interesting now is the trend is looking toward third-tier cities,” with the brand planning a store in the little-known city of Baoding, in the northeastern province of Hebei.
Givenchy’s chief executive officer told Reuters that “today what’s interesting in our business is to be able to express and please a diverse group,” and part of what it will be for the fashion industry will be “to have Asian people in ad campaigns.”
Anne Valerie Hash
On Day two of Paris Fashion Week, French designer Anne Valerie Hash chose her Paris atelier as the venue to show her new collection, which featured meticulous tailoring and relaxed and soft fabrics. Hash told AFP after the show that she focused on “softness within the changing world,” particularly as it looks increasingly Eastward.
Anne Valerie Hash’s design team is predominantly Japanese and entirely East Asian. In addition, Hash collaborated on this season’s collection with Beijing-based Taiwanese artist Huang Zhiyang, whose paintings are featured in the prints. While elaborate prints were a feature of many collections, Anne Valerie Hash filled her show with an Eastern elegance inspired by Huang Zhiyang’s paintings.
Hermès opened a new chapter at this year’s Paris Fashion Week with new designer Christopher Lemaire’s debut collection. Previously at Lacoste, Lemaire presented a Fall/Winter 2011 collection with a hint of Native American inspiration, while nodding to the equestrian heritage of Hermès.
Unconventionally, Christopher Lemaire set a serene mood by including a live performance on the guzheng by Beijing composer Wu Fei. Hermès has, of course, garnered a great deal of attention about its “created-in-China” sub-brand, Shang Xia, staffed and designed by a Chinese team and displaying a distinctly Chinese aesthetic. Though Shang Xia is independent of the Hermès brand, we can see how Hermès’ appreciation for Chinese craftsmanship and heritage seem to have seeped through, however minimally.
London-based designer Mary Katrantzou eschewed last season’s interior design-inspired images for prints reminiscent of Fabergé eggs, porcelain, cloisonné enamel and Ming vases. To display the luxurious objects that inspired the prints, shapes and outlines took on stiff artificial canvases, as well as soft silhouettes that usually post difficulties for placement prints. Mary Katrantzou’s Fall Winter 2011 collection presented the “woman as connoisseur,” placing Ming vases in demand not only for art collectors but also the fashion world.