While first-tier Chinese cities are no strangers to major luxury-sponsored museum exhibits, French jeweler Cartier is displaying its heritage in Shenyang, a second-tier city deep in the process of realizing its major luxury potential.
As the sponsor of an exhibition entitled “A Story of Style and Heritage”, Cartier shows off 300 of its most historic pieces, some of which date as far back as the mid-18th century. While the brand currently operates four boutiques in Shenyang, the exhibit’s location is the Liaoning Provincial Museum, which lends cultural gravitas far beyond the level of a typical marketing campaign. As part of the exhibition’s theme of cultural exchange, 100 Chinese pieces will be on display alongside Cartier’s jewelry and timepieces.
This show is a major undertaking for Cartier, which promotes it prominently on its Chinese-language website and Sina Weibo page. It even holds strong diplomatic implications, as its opening ceremony received a visit from French Ambassador to China Sylvie-Agnes Bermann, who noted, “The year 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between China and France. We are going to organize a series of activities in the areas of culture, the economy, and technology.”
This isn’t Cartier’s first major exhibit at a Chinese museum. In 2009, the jeweler displayed its treasures at the Palace Museum in Beijing and gained a substantial amount of cultural cachet in China when it did so.
With a population of 8 million and a substantial concentration of affluent residents, it’s not entirely surprising that the brand has chosen Shenyang for its new exhibit. Luxury brands have been making their way into Shenyang for several years now, and the rise of incomes in second-tier cities has precipitated a growing influx of luxury retailers. As a result, brands are increasingly seeing the benefits of holding special exhibits to stand out from the crowd not only in Beijing and Shanghai, but in any city in which they hope to educate consumers about their history and heritage.
Check out a video by CCTV below for more information on the exhibit, which opened on September 15: