The Review: Futile Diplomacy, the Death of the Debit Card, Guo Pei, and More

    In this edition of The Review, we round up breaking news discussed in our daily newsletter from April 30-May 4, 2018.
    Fashion Show "Guo Pei" Haute Couture from China took place as part of the Bangkok International Fashion Week 2017
    Sam GaskinAuthor
      Published   in Fashion

    In The Review, we round up breaking news discussed in our daily newsletter, The Daily Brief. This week, we discussed:

    • Balenciaga's second attempt to put out a PR crisis fire,
    • the significance of designer Guo Pei making it to the Tribeca Film Festival,
    • the likely futility of a U.S. trade delegation to China,
    • the surprising honorees of the China Fashion Gala, and
    • the death of the Chinese debit card.

    Monday, April 30#

    Balenciaga issued a second apology on Saturday over the scuffle that took place inside a Printemps department store in Paris last week as customers queued to purchase the Spanish brands' items. According to Reuters, the first apology didn't identify the wronged customers as Chinese, prompting Chinese social media users to share the hashtag #BoycottBalenciagaDiscriminatesChinese.

    Balenciaga said it had temporarily suspended management staff present during the incident pending an investigation. The tension that caused the fight to break out to begin with seems to trace back to competing gray-market resellers who depend on getting the items for their livelihoods.

    Click here to read how luxury resellers (daigou) continue to persist despite moves toward global pricing.

    Tuesday, May 1#

    Rihanna's gown was compared to a jianbing, or breakfast pancake, by Chinese netizens when she wore it to the Met Gala in 2015. Now it has resurfaced in a documentary about Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei called Yellow is Forbidden, showing at the Tribeca Film Festival. Yellow was traditionally reserved for Chinese Emperors.

    Chinese designs worn in the West frequently receive different reactions at home and abroad. A Utah teen is currently under fire for wearing a qipao to prom, an act described as cultural appropriation by Asian American commentators. Meanwhile, a top comment on mainland Chinese social site Weibo says, "If it looks good, that's enough."

    Click here to read about Guo Pei's acceptance to the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.

    Wednesday, May 2#

    At the same time as President Trump is celebrating his supposed role in a warming of relations between North and South Korea, the trade war with China is receiving greater diplomatic energy. Trump announced the members of an official delegation from the United States to China to discuss the trade relationship between the two countries beginning Thursday, May 3. The team includes: Ambassador Terry Branstad, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, among others.

    There's scepticism about what the delegation can achieve. The New York Times reports that China is refusing to discuss Trump’s two toughest demands: a $100 billion cut to the $375 billion trade deficit, and curbs on Beijing’s Made in China 2025 plan, which includes $300 billion of subsidies in key technologies.

    Click here to read about the early targets of the trade war and American fashion brands' plea for a return to the status quo.

    Thursday, May 3#

    Mission Impossible III actress Maggie Q is among the guests being honored at the 2018 China Fashion Gala on Friday, May 4, none of whom are themselves Chinese.

    The China Fashion Gala is "a platform to promote and support emerging Chinese talent on the international stage and to recognize individuals whose outstanding contributions have helped position Chinese design and aesthetics at the forefront of fashion on a global scale." The honorees include Christian Louboutin, Shanghai Tang's Alessandro Bastagli and Massimiliano Giornetti, Tiffany & Co., and Q, who is a Hawaii-born Irish-Vietnamese American.

    Hosted by beauty pageant director Yue-sai Kan, contributions from mainland Chinese participants will include a presentation by photographer Sun Jun, performances by former Miss Universe Chinas, and a runway show by designer Grace Chen.

    Click here to read Chen's thoughts on the changing China fashion market from the Global Fashion Innovation and Investment Forum last month.

    Friday, May 4#

    Just 16 percent of Chinese people (represented in red) now use debit cards on a weekly basis, with mobile payments on Alipay (77 percent) and WeChat Pay (56 percent) absolutely trouncing plastic. Half of Americans (the blue), still use debit cards at least weekly, for the time being, according to J Walter Thompson’s ‘The Future of Money,’ which surveyed 1,000 consumers in each country.

    Click to read about Chinese tourists' greater trust in mobile payments than either cash or cards.

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