In The Review, we round up breaking news discussed in our daily newsletter, The Daily Brief. This week, we discussed:
- Ferragamo's failure to meet profit targets,
- Athleisure's huge remaining potential in China,
- the least hip-hop Maybach ever,
- the backlash over a scuffle in a Paris Balenciaga store, and
- Montblanc's selection of Fan Bingbing as brand ambassador.
Salvatore Ferragamo has issued a profit warning and lost its chief executive, Eraldo Poletto, after struggling to stop profits falling, reports Business of Fashion. In February last year the company promised to grow revenue at twice the market rate from 2017 to 2020, but in fiscal 2017, revenue rose just 1.4 percent and net profit sank 42.4 percent year-on-year. Ferragamo's efforts to win over Chinese consumers include recruiting Victoria's Secret model Xiao Wen Ju.
Sportswear sales in China grew faster than those of luxury goods from 2012 to 2017, with market leaders Nike and Adidas both seeing double-digit sales growth over the period, according to Euromonitor. Yet, athleisure, which is casualwear that can transition from the gym to the office, is still much less common in China than it is in the West, according to the South China Morning Post, leaving much more room for growth.
Back in 2013, New York Magazine reported that the Maybach limousine had been mentioned in more than 700 rap songs before being discontinued in 2012. The car was relaunched as a sub-brand of the Mercedes S-class in 2014, and the rappers — from Kanye West and Jay-Z to Cardi B and Nicki Minaj (not to mention Lorde) — never stopped dropping its name.
How ironic, then, that as China frowns on hip-hop (a too conspicuous sound track to growing wealth inequality) the Maybach should show up in Beijing as an environmentally friendly, luxury tea room. Whether Mercedes can please both the party rappers and the Party members is the sort of conundrum that will return again and again as China's rise upsets the existing order.
Pixelated video of a scuffle, reportedly at a Balenciaga store in a Paris mall, was enough to cause an avalanche of vitriol towards the brand on Chinese social media. Competition for coveted luxury items is heating up as Chinese money moves abroad, and many Chinese consumers feel unappreciated.
After launching her own cosmetics brand, Fan Beauty, last month, actress Fan Bingbing has been named global brand ambassador for Mont Blanc, reports Women's Wear Daily.
“Fan Bingbing is the quintessential modern woman, portraying confidence in different areas beyond acting. Her interest and knowledge comprise fashion, philanthropy, and business,” said Montblanc chief executive officer Nicolas Baretzki. “This self-confidence, determination, and independence are what define the ‘boheme spirit’ and we are delighted to welcome Fan Bingbing to the Montblanc family.”
Fan's reputation as a businesswoman in control of her own career has led her to be nicknamed Mister Fan in China.