Valentino has been busy renovating its stores worldwide with a new in-house concept since 2022. This July, the concept landed in the maison’s Shanghai Plaza 66 flagship store, marking a milestone in the expansion of Valentino’s global retail network.
Covering over 475 square meters, the two-floor Valentino store presents the house’s women’s and men’s ready-to-wear collections and the Valentino Garavani accessories. In particular, the maison has dedicated an entire floor to the men’s universe.
This move demonstrates the Italian luxury house’s confidence in the Chinese market amid the post-pandemic recovery. According to a report published by BCG and Tencent, the luxury market in China will see recovery in 2023 and the overall market size is expected to grow by 15 to 20 percent, reaching $76 billion (RMB 550 billion) by the end of this year.
In the past two years, Valentino successfully carried out its expansion plan – opening in Shenzhen and Wuhan as well as reinforcing its presence in key cities – as CEO Jacopo Venturini shared in an interview with Jing Daily in 2021. Along with the elevated retail network across the country, the maison creatively localized the Pink PP campaign, featuring the phenomenal Aranya take over in September 2022. The selection of the seaside travel destination with booming popularity in China allowed the Italian establishment to resonate with young demographics.
As the localization approach with an emphasis on creating exceptional experiences has proven a great success, Valentino adopted it to introduce the Unboxing Valentino Spring/Summer 2023 collection. In April, the house announced to be the exclusive fashion partner of Sleep No More Shanghai and co-creating its first full-length immersive theater production, titled The Box.
Whether it was the Aranya project or the collaboration with Sleep No More Shanghai, Valentino attached great importance to immersive experiences and personal connections. Now, with the grand opening of the Shanghai Plaza 66 flagshsip, Jing Daily caught up with Venturini to explore how the Italian maison’s new store concept reflects its brand values and how he maps out the next steps in the Chinese market.
Jing Daily: Valentino has been unveiling a new global store concept since last year. What’s the goal of the redesign? Can you please share some highlights of the stores featuring the new concept?
Jacopo Venturini: The new store concept is part of a renowned business model and focused brick-and-mortar retail strategy that fully reflects the repositioning of Valentino as the most established Italian Maison de Couture. Developed in-house, it fully reflects our Italian heritage and savoir-faire, permeated by our core values: colleague-centricity and people-centricity, creativity, clienteling, customer experience and experiential journey, as well as brand experience. Defined by a contemporary design language and bespoke artisanal elements by prominent artists, the interiors are a fusion of 1930s Art Deco and the 1970s. The ceramic façades are inspired by the front doors of the Roman Palazzos.
How can clients experience the maison’s culture of couture at the revamped boutiques?
With a holistic approach that highlights the client’s individuality rather than a product-driven experience. Couture clienteling provides a unique journey that puts the client at the center as a human being.
The new stores feature specific areas for private appointments that enhance the feeling of intimacy, exclusivity, and obsession with details. In this carefully curated setting, the client advisor is a key player from the beginning, creating an intimate relationship with the client based on sensitivity and empathy. This affinity trickles down to our personalized concierge service, digital world, and online services.
The new stores feature specific areas for private appointments that enhance the feeling of intimacy, exclusivity, and obsession with details. In this carefully curated setting, the client advisor is a key player from the beginning, creating an intimate relationship with the client based on sensitivity and empathy.
Chinese consumers are increasingly seeking unique and personalized luxury experiences. How is Valentino catering to these evolving preferences in China?
By leveraging the maison’s heritage, DNA, and iconic codes through an ongoing dialogue with Chinese customers seeking luxury experiences and bespoke activities based on our cornerstones: excellence, top craftsmanship, unbridled self-expression, and attention to detail. We also empower local values through international ambassadors that embody the spirit of the Maison, customized events for Very Important Customers, or dedicated collections such as the Valentino Rosso Toile Iconographe capsule celebrating the Chinese New Year.
China has developed leading e-commerce and digital ecosystems. How is Valentino leveraging these channels to reach digital-savvy Chinese consumers and enhance the brand’s omnichannel presence?
With our long-term omnichannel approach, we aim to offer consumers an experience that seamlessly bonds the online and the offline, the brick-and-mortar world with the digital one, through a direct and authentic relationship with the consumer that is consistent throughout the buying process and along the various touch points. We want the client to feel part of a unified, coherent project: client-centric, immersive, personalized, interactive, constant, consistent, and bespoke. On a more general note, we are actively present on relevant touch points, including our official site, Tmall, JD, Wechat, Weibo, and Xiaohongshu.
Chinese millennials and Gen Z consumers are known for their sophistication in luxury consumption. How is Valentino engaging with these younger demographics in China and building long-term brand loyalty?
To begin with, Valentino chooses talents that embody and empower our values but are also the voice of the younger generations. An example is brand ambassador Li Ronghao, whom we dressed for his worldwide tour. In May 2023, Valentino named Yang Yang as the new Valentino DiVa, marking a key milestone for the brand’s men’s strategy in the region while celebrating diversity and individuality.
From September 2022 onwards, we presented our Pink PP collection through unexpected installations and dedicated initiatives, engaging for Gen Z, such as the installation in Aranya, in the coastal city of Qinhuangdao. Engaging with Millennials and Gen Z allows us to have an empathic and solid relationship with our community both locally and globally.
Travel restrictions and changes in consumer behavior due to the pandemic have significantly impacted the luxury industry. As China optimized its pandemic response this year, how has Valentino adapted its business strategy in China?
Considering that China represents a pivotal and key market for the brand, we reacted to pandemic restrictions by cementing our omni channel presence on the territory. Fueled by the robust growth registered in the area, we are redefining our brick-and-mortar vision to further strengthen our visibility and retail experience. Last month we inaugurated a store in Wuhan and one in Beijing. New openings in the pipeline include two units in Shenzhen MixC, one entirely dedicated to men, in December 2023, and one Nanjing in November 2023.
Considering that Greater China represents a pivotal and key market for the brand, we reacted to pandemic restrictions by cementing our omni channel presence on the territory. Fueled by the robust growth registered in the area, we are redefining our brick-and-mortar vision to further strengthen our visibility and retail experience.
In July 2023, we have just relocated the flagship store in Shanghai’s Plaza 66 with the new concept followed by the revamping of our boutiques in Chengdu, Qingdao, Nanjing, and Shenzhen. Valentino currently counts 32 directly operated stores in 22 locations, a number that will increase to 34 directly operated stores by year end.