French Fashion House Brings Perfume Master François Demachy To China
With China’s millionaire population expected to more than double to 2.4 million by 2016, according to Credit Suisse estimates, major luxury brands continue to dig in their heels for long-term expansion and consumer education efforts there. Recently, both Gucci and Prada announced that the Greater China region made up around one-third of total global sales in the first half of this year, and looking to increase its market share in the world’s most populous country, the French fashion house Christian Dior, held events this month in mainland China.
S/S 2012 Collection Shown in Guangzhou
As part of its celebration of the grand opening of its new boutique at Guangzhou’s Taikoo Hui Mall, where it sits among brands like Hermes, Montblanc, Emporio Armani and others, Dior recently held a party to debut its S/S 2012 in the southern metropolis. Over the course of this year, we’ve seen a number of brands trying to make inroads in Guangzhou, which — despite being China’s third-largest city and one of its wealthiest — has traditionally been a difficult luxury market, owing mostly to its proximity to duty-free Hong Kong.
For the recent Taikoo Hui event, Dior invited celebrities like the Hong Kong actress and Cantopop singer Vivian Chow (周慧敏) and actor and model Hu Bing (胡兵) to attend its media-packed runway show.
Chengdu Event Introduces City To Custom Fragrances
After wrapping up its event in Guangzhou, Dior continued further inland to Chengdu, one of China’s fastest-growing luxury markets. For the debut of its limited-edition La Collection Privée fragrance line, Dior brought the master perfumer François Demachy to the city to share some of his secrets and discuss the collection’s 10 individual fragrances with invited guests. During his stay in Chengdu, Demachy also visited Sansheng Flower Village, a tourist hot-spot in eastern Chengdu, to get inspiration for upcoming fragrance collections. For the event, Dior also invited the Taiwanese actor Nicky Wu (吴奇隆) to specifically promote the “New Look 1947” fragrance, also part of the La Collection Privée line.
Though Dior went the extra mile in this case to promote its new perfume collection, it pays to keep in mind that the high-end fragrance market in China is still very young and underdeveloped. While a growing number of consumers are developing the habit of wearing premium fragrances on a daily basis, fragrances currently account for only about one percent of the country’s booming 88.9 billion yuan (US$13.9 billion) cosmetics market. Though the Horizon Research Consultancy Group noted in a report last year that the Chinese fragrance market has grown by 15 to 25 percent each year since 2008, the relatively small size of the market means the cost of localization for Chinese tastes remains prohibitively high. Nonetheless, some brands, including Kenzo and Prada, have introduced localized, less powerful scents for the China market in recent years. Whether François Demachy’s trip to Sansheng Flower Village gave him some ideas for a China-focused Dior fragrance line is anyone’s guess.