“We Would Like To Open At Least 30 Boutiques In First- And Second-Tier Cities”
Launched with an opening ceremony attended by company execs followed with a showcase of the luxury lingerie maker’s new collection, this week La Perla unveiled its new Beijing flagship at the city’s recently opened Parkview Green mall. The Italian label’s fourth location in Beijing and ninth nationwide, the Parkview Green flagship is the latest in La Perla’s China expansion plan, which should see the company open at least 30 boutiques in China in first- and second-tier cities over the next several years. Designed by Buratti & Battiston and featuring a painting by Italian artist Milo Manara, the new Beijing flagship features soft lighting and an abundance of silk and lace, giving it a distinctly cozy and romantic vibe.
Since entering the China market in 2007, La Perla has made the country one of its top priorities. Demand has exploded in recent years as middle-class consumers in first- and second-tier cities have traded up, pushing China’s intimate apparel market to US$3.9 billion in 2010. According to China Daily, the market continues to grow around 10 percent per year. Despite an increasing presence in China, leading international lingerie brands like La Perla have found that introducing high-priced luxury intimates to the country’s consumers is no small task, owing to cultural norms and macro-level consumer trends. Unlike highly visible items such as handbags, footwear or outerwear, more “invisible” luxury goods like lingerie and perfume are still relatively new to logo-loving Chinese consumers looking for public recognition.
However, La Perla for one is optimistic that this will gradually change, and the label has adjusted its China strategy accordingly to catch eyes — last year, in celebration of the Year of the Dragon, the label created a limited-edition “Dragon” collection. As La Perla CEO Tim Brasher told Jing Daily of the challenges of the market last November,
Typically Chinese consumers have a much more functional orientation toward lingerie and underwear, whereas Western consumers have grown to appreciate the fashion element of lingerie and the self-confidence they gain from wearing lingerie and underwear that is an extension of their personal sense of style.
The chief obstacle in any new market is brand awareness. To overcome this, we will continue to expand our distribution locations and introduce the brand to new consumers through PR activities, advertising and live events.