Shanghai Concept Store Exhibition Enhances Brand’s Connection To Local Market
In a sophisticated aesthetic and marketing strategy combining fashion with art, Italian luxury brand Bottega Veneta recently launched an exhibition of work by Chinese emerging artists and photographers in its Shanghai Bund concept store. In the third exhibition of its kind at this location, the project allows the brand to convey a connection to local culture while at the same time boosting its image.
Named Facing Faces, the exhibition, which has been running since March 28, 2013 and will go until the end of June 2013, gathers portrait artwork from multiple local artists. The theme is decidedly intellectual, exploring ideas of identity, personality, and mode of thinking in individuals’ relationships with society and with shared memories of Chinese history. Adding to its artistic legitimacy is the fact that the exhibition was curated by professor Zheng Gu from Fudan University, who is also a reputed art critic and photographer.
Bottega’s stated aims for initiating these exhibitions are to protect local culture and to help young artists grow as they progress along their career paths. The exhibition is also beneficial to the brand, as it gives the location an air of sophistication that enhances clients’ store experience, thus boosting sales.
Visitors will be able to see artwork made by many emerging as well as mid-career artists, including Enli Zhang, Puxin, and Jianhua Liu.
Further adding to Bottega’s artistic image, the concept store itself is located in a historical building that is part of a historical restoration project entitled Waitanyuan.
According to the company, the exhibition has been good for Bottega Veneta’s business in China. “Since our opening in May 2012, our clients have been deeply attracted by our art sponsorship practice. We hope our clients will like Facing Faces as much as the previous two exhibitions,” said President and CEO of Bottega Veneta Marco Bizzarri.
Art sponsorship by leading fashion houses has historically been practiced across the globe, as it serves as a valuable tool for boosting a label’s corporate image, bringing it positive attention, and adding to the aesthetic significance of its clothing. From Elsa Schiaparelli’s collaboration with Salvatore Dali in the 1930s, to Miuccia Prada and her collaboration with architect Rem Koolhaas, to Iris Van Herpen’s combination of architecture and art in couture pieces, many fashion figures have blurred the boundaries between luxury and art.
Luxury brands have also moved their art sponsorship to China in order to educate, as well as impress, their growing numbers of Chinese customers with projects such as the Christian Dior & Chinese Artists exhibition at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.
Bottega Veneta owner François Pinault has himself shown an intense passion for collecting contemporary Chinese artwork. His family recently met with praise from the Chinese government for its cultural respect for China after donating a set of Qing dynasty bronze zodiac heads that had been looted from China in 1860, a move which will likely bring more respect to the brand.