Dior is the latest fashion house slated to present its men’s pre-collection in Hong Kong. While the venue and date have yet to be confirmed, the event will take place in early 2024.
Once hailed as Asia’s fashion and luxury retail shopping capital, Hong Kong has faced a series of major challenges in recent years as the city has struggled to rebuild its economy following years of Covid-19 lockdowns as well as socio-political unrest in 2019 and 2020.
Since the city’s and mainland China’s reopening at the beginning of this year through August, Hong Kong has welcomed 20.5 million tourists — 80 percent of them from the mainland, according to VOA News. These numbers have yet to return to 2018’s levels, which were nearly double this year’s, according to the same report.
And now, with the return of A-list luxury events and major brands to the city’s commercial districts, including Chanel’s two-story Causeway Bay retail space leased for an eye-watering 384,000 (HK3 million) per month, as well as Dior, De Beers, and Bulgari’s latest store openings, brands and insiders are wondering if the city will see a retail and tourism renaissance after all?
With the announcement of its men’s pre-collection show in Hong Kong, Dior is following suit after fellow LVMH brand Louis Vuitton announced in October it would hold its first-ever menswear pre-fall show in Hong Kong. The Louis Vuitton show will take place outside Hong Kong cultural retail space K11 Victoria Dockside’s Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui district tomorrow.
Pietro Beccari, CEO of Louis Vuitton, spoke about the importance of Hong Kong as a regional retail and business hub for the brand: “I think Hong Kong, for everybody, is one of the most brilliant, prolific, successful cities in Asia.”
“This show is about celebrating a city that has been and will always be in the heart of the people as one of the most beautiful and most important in Asia,” Peccari told The South China Morning Post.
Louis Vuitton has partnered with the aforementioned cultural-retail development K11 Musea to host its show. In August, K11’s Tsim Sa Tsui-based shopping malls, K11 Musea and K11 Art Mall, reported sales had surpassed the pre-pandemic level by 20 percent.
Businesses in Hong Kong, spanning fashion retailers, hospitality services, and financial institutions, are optimistic about a new chapter for the special administrative region given China and the local government’s recent encouragement.
On October 25, Hong Kong chief executive John Lee unveiled a set of initiatives designed to stimulate the economy, ranging from property tax cuts to a new scheme that will help build infrastructure for several emerging industries.
Earlier this year, the government of the region adjusted its forecast for the city's economic growth to 3.2 percent from the initial forecast of 4 percent to 5 percent for 2023. Moreover, the Hong Kong government's most recent data indicates that GDP in 3Q 2023 rose 4.1 percent year on year.
Ultimately, the city’s identity as a shopping and tourism hub is changing, with an increased emphasis on unique and experiential offerings, as Jing Daily has reported in recent weeks.
“When I visit Hong Kong, I feel like I am on a different planet,” writes Chinese netizen Ison1y on Xiaohongshu. “Hong Kong is a vibrant and multicultural place, and when you are here, you enter a unique world.”
“When I visit Hong Kong, I feel like I am on a different planet. Hong Kong is a vibrant and multicultural place, and when you are here, you enter a unique world.”
However, not all netizens feel this way. Over recent years, Chinese tourists have complained about facing discrimination in the city. From being called “locusts” to feeling pressured to make pricy purchases, mainland Chinese visitors have spoken of unfair treatment during trips to the region.
“Their attitude is really bad,” writes Xiaohongshu user ZhengJenny, of sales and customer service in Hong Kong. The post she is commenting on is titled “Hong Kong is no longer a shopping paradise.”
Other netizens speak about the unaffordability of the city. “It’s no longer a shopping paradise for normal people who can only afford products under 700 (RMB 5,000),” writes user Momo, adding that better deals can be found via duty-free shopping in neighboring tourism hub Hainan or even on Taobao.
Among China’s millionaires, however, Hong Kong remains a top shopping destination, according to a recent survey of 2,000 affluent and high-net-worth individuals conducted by Agility Research and Strategy. The report highlighted that besides travel, luxury experiences including entertainment were also significant factors.
Ultimately, Hong Kong retailers and hospitality outlets will need to focus their efforts on wooing back Chinese tourists to reestablish its status as Asia’s shopping hub.
From offering free flights to the announcement of Louis Vuitton and Dior’s star-studded fashion shows, as well as the retail return of major luxury houses, the city is staging a major comeback. Only time will tell if Hong Kong’s renaissance has indeed arrived.