Global names are ushering in the Year of the Rabbit by linking with Chinese designers and artists. On the back of celebrations this week, illustrator Vanilla Chi worked with the Opera Winfrey-loved luxury cookware brand Our Place to design a rice bowl set.
Also for the Lunar New Year, LVMH presented firm confidence in the market by incorporating the work of local artists and designers into its brands’ Lunar New Year-dedicated product launches. Both Maison Hennessy and Swiss watchmaker Hublot are proving the magic touch of contemporary local artists.
Over in Paris for men’s fashion week, leading collaborator Feng Chen Wang is the latest to work with Estée Lauder on a beauty capsule. This is an unsurprising move, seeing as the brand recently announced that it will be increasing its focus on the mainland in order to meet consumer demand there.
The real star of Paris on Chinese social media, though, seems to be K-pop star J-Hope of BTS who attended the Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Hermès shows. On Weibo, the Paris Fashion Week hashtag #巴黎时装周# has 4.79 million reads on the day of writing this, assisted by the attendance of J-Hope, among other stars.
But back to brand collaborations, for the verdict of this week’s most exciting launches, check out the below. Be sure to subscribe here to receive these updates every week straight to your inbox.
Maison Hennessy x Yan Pei-Ming
Date: January 5
Trend: Luxury Alcohol Brand x Artist
Verdict: The luxury French cognac brand enhances both its collectability and cultural capital through artist collaborations such as this. Working with contemporary local artist Yan Pei-Ming to celebrate the Lunar New Year, Maison Hennessy produced an exclusive series of 888 decanters. The artist said in a statement, “When you hold a bottle of cognac up to sunlight, its hues and transparency vary so much. I wanted to portray cognac — but it’s light that is really the color of this painting.” Even throughout the zero-COVID period, China remained one of the regions bolstering growth for cognac. Sales rose 31 percent in 2021, led by the mainland, along with the US too. That being said, collaborations like this are crucial to boosting relatability. From Jeff Koons designing for Dom Perignon, to Yayoi Kusama joining forces with Veuve Clicquot, luxury alcohol-artist crossovers are central to luxury alcohol branding in 2023.
Hublot x Wen Na
Date: January 20
Trend: Luxury Watch Brand x Artist
Verdict: Another product launch that’s promoting Chinese talent for the Lunar New Year, this contemporary art crossover connects the East and the West. It’s not Hublot’s first venture into the art world though, having released two NFTs with Takashi Murakami last year. “It is an interesting combination to integrate the ancient representation of time in traditional Chinese culture, the sexagenary cycle, with Hublot and its pioneering watch,” said the artist. Overall, it shows that China’s rise as one of the world’s leading luxury markets is fueling the growth of its homegrown artists and designers. Hublot has a Chinese brand ambassador, award-winning pop star Lay Zhang. In China, the luxury watch name’s growth is reportedly being driven by young consumers. Thus, artist collabs are a no-brainer, especially those that tap into the national pride of Generation Z.
Feng Chen Wang x Estee Lauder
Date: April 2023
Trend: Beauty Brand x Independent Designer
Verdict: Fujian-born independent designer Feng Chen Wang has proven her versatility since launching her namesake label in 2016; the brand has released an electric Piaggio scooter, Converses, Ugg Boots, and Canada Goose outerwear. Now, it’s moving toward beauty. Following in the footsteps of collabs like Shiseido x Angel Chen and Mac x Windowsen, this Estée Lauder collection reflects the appeal of Chinese creativity, as well as a route for a global brand to connect with the local market. The beauty brand has been present in China since 1993. Yet, early last year, it announced plans to accelerate growth there. In Q2 2022, the company saw sales increase by 5 percent while operating income in the Asia Pacific region rose by 6 percent, mainly driven by China; according to the same report, it’s the leading flagship for beauty in mainland China.