A roundup of fashion news coming out of China this week, from Paul Smith’s upcoming China “megastore” in Shanghai to Alexander Wang’s new Santlitun location, Jean Paul Gaultier’s Beijing fashion show and DVF’s fourth China boutique.
For First China Flagship, Paul Smith Plans Shanghai “Megastore”
11 years after opening its first location in Hong Kong, the British fashion label Paul Smith Ltd. is slated to open its first mainland China flagship, a 5,000 square foot (465 square meter) “megastore” in Shanghai, this December. As Bloomberg writes this week, the brand, known for its bold colors and slim-fitting suits, hopes to ratchet up its China expansion strategy, with 24 shops planned there over the next five years. In partnership with ImageinX Group, the brand’s distributor in the Greater China region, Paul Smith hopes to dig in for the long haul in China’s booming fashion market, which is expected to more than triple to 1.3 trillion yuan ($206 billion) by 2020 (up from 400 billion yuan in 2010).
As Balbina Wong, chief executive officer for ImagineX Group, put it, “This is the right time to join the race…Chinese consumers are becoming more sophisticated and brand- conscious. China’s overall GDP may slow, but the middle-class is growing.”
Though the company remains optimistic about its prospects in China, where it already operates a handful of small locations, we’re interested to see what kind of marketing tack it’ll take to compete with the likes of Prada — which raised over HK$19 billion ($2.5 billion) in its 2011 Hong Kong IPO to speed up its expansion in China — Salvatore Ferragamo, which Bloomberg notes is expected to enter eight new cities over the next three to five years in China, and fellow British brand Burberry, which has been among the most successful foreign fashion brands in China over the past two years. As early as 2006, Paul Smith was hob-nobbing with Chinese celebrities like publisher Hong Huang and musician Cui Jian in advance of an expected push into China. Six years on, the brand lags behind the likes of Zegna and Ferragamo among China’s cashed-up 30- and 40-somethings, and the country’s younger generation remains fixated on the Burberrys and Coaches of the high-end world. It’ll take some serious marketing savvy for Paul Smith to correctly position itself to appeal to both demographics.
Alexander Wang Hits Beijing With Sanlitun Bash
Another major launch took place this weekend in Beijing with the opening of Alexander Wang’s two-story location in the city’s Sanlitun Village North, home to brands like Balenciaga and Lanvin. Held at the complex’s underground parking garage, Wang’s Beijing bash was attended by the likes of Gossip Girl‘s Penn Badgely and Zoë Kravitz and Chinese supermodel Du Juan, with music supplied by Diplo and a performance by A$AP Rocky.
“This is out of control—I can’t hear a thing and love it!” one local heiress was (barely) overheard saying.
Before long, the party reached its apogee with a seemingly spontaneous act of catharsis: The crowd of partiers, models, and socialites sent sprays of bottled water, Absolut vodka, and Yanjing beer flying all over. The shopping center’s famously persnickety management probably wasn’t happy. But just before midnight, Wang’s mother, Ying, could be spotted heading out with a big grin on her face.
Gaultier Takes Beijing With Runway Show
This past weekend, designer Jean Paul Gaultier made his first visit to China for a fashion show of his F/W 2012 men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and couture collections, held at Beijing’s Chaoyang Urban Planning Museum. With more than 1,000 attendees at the museum, including VIP “regulars” like actress Jennifer Tse and actor Simon Yam, the show was the place to be for fashion devotees in the Chinese capital. As WWD writes of the event:
The crowd was clearly hip to the signature style of Gaultier. There were enough striped bodies to command a naval ship, and enough kilts to start a ceilidh. And in a city that doesn’t usually condone homosexuality, and certainly never drag, all persuasions appeared to be proudly and glamorously represented.
Two weeks after Gaultier’s 60th birthday and almost 40 years into his career, Gaultier’s visit to Beijing prompted numerous questions relating to his age. Yet the “enfant terrible” seemed unperturbed by the constant reminders of his seniority.
“I don’t feel anything has changed but the color of my hair. I always have the same passion in my work, which I love,” he said. “I’m very lucky because I’m doing the profession I have wanted to do since I was a child.”
DVF Opens Fourth China Location In Beijing
Recently, Diane Von Furstenberg launched her fourth location in mainland China at Beijing’s Oriental Plaza (东方新天地). Since entering the market in November 2010, DVF has opened stores at Beijing’s Shin Kong Place (新光天地), Shanghai’s Plaza 66 (上海恒隆广场) and Beijing’s China World Mall (国贸后). Her newest, a 133 square meter location at Oriental Plaza, located in the city’s Wangfujing shopping area, stocks a full range of apparel and accessories, footwear, handbags, leathergoods and sunglasses. The location’s grand opening was attended by DVF Greater China general manager Jessie Chen and actress Chen Shu (陈数).
DVF at Oriental Plaza
Basement level, BB46 A&B
1 E. Chang’an Ave., Dongcheng district, Beijing
Tel: +86 01 8515 1558