Two months after the 520 holiday, here comes China’s third Valentine’s Day of the year. Falling on August 4, the Qixi Festival has welcomed dedicated campaigns from major luxury houses since the beginning of July. More importantly, this occasion will be the first celebration since pandemic lockdowns in Shanghai and Beijing were lifted.
Given that Qixi not only represents one of the most traditional festivals in China but also plays a favorable role in sales in the second half of the year, brands have geared up to sweeten their connection with Chinese customers. Still, how to come up with novel storytelling is the most challenging thing for global names, as the legend behind Qixi (a bittersweet romance between a mortal cowherd and a goddess) is too obvious and familiar to local audiences.
Below, Jing Daily selected four luxury campaigns that took an innovative approach to the traditional Valentine’s Day.
Bottega Veneta told the most romantic story this Qixi Festival via a short film spotlighting three couples cycling in the alleys and countryside of Qingdao, a port city in eastern Shandong province. The theme of the film, "Love, in motion," echoes the concept of "craft in motion" that was proposed by Matthieu Blazy for the house’s Winter 2022 collection.
Distinct from typical Qixi campaign visuals, Bottega Veneta’s film cast two same-sex couples, portraying the inclusivity of love and the chemistry between lovers. Rather than using stereotypical Valentine's Day symbols like the color red or heart shapes, the Qixi-exclusive products featured in the film incorporate the iconic Bottega green. The campaign, released on July 13, garnered positive comments from Chinese audiences. Though the brand does not have an official presence on Weibo, the film posted on WeChat Channel and Xiaohongshu has received extensive organic engagements.
Balenciaga put a futuristic spin on its Qixi campaign. Launched on July 18, the brand released short videos and images, shot by photographer Andrea Artemisio, starring robots produced by British Engineered Arts. The metallic beings are styled with products such as the extra small black rhinestone-studded Balenciaga Hourglass as well as its gray furry iteration, which first debuted on Tmall Heybox.
One of the most interesting elements of the campaign video that resonate greatly with Chinese netizens is the background music: "Sweet On You" (known as "Tian Mi Mi" in Chinese). A nostalgic hit, the romantic Mandarin song was released in 1979 by Teresa Teng. Here, the robots interact with each other and dance along to the lyrics. Featuring Balenciaga’s typical quirky aesthetic, this Qixi initiative envisions robots with emotions and inspires audiences to explore the possibilities of the future.
Valentino’s Qixi-limited series "All Around Love" plays with hearts and the maison’s iconic V-logo. The collection features "V-logo Love" prints in half, with a symbolic meaning of approaching love. A full heart shape can be seen if two products are put together, emphasizing how love can span distance — just as it does in the legend of the Qixi Festival.
The brand collaborated with musician and singer-songwriter Li Ronghao to launch the campaign video to the tune of his popular song “Together.” Starring Chinese model Zhao Jiali and fashion KOL Ye Jinghang, the music video presents the romantic story of a long-distance relationship. Since its debut on July 11, the video has racked up 8.4 million views on Weibo, thanks to the brand’s partnership with the music talent.
The French house traced the authentic history of Qixi and drew inspiration from it. Long before Qixi became Chinese Valentine's Day, it was an occasion where young women gathered to appreciate the moon and prayed to heaven to become more ingenious. In addition to rolling out a capsule collection, the brand launched a dedicated WeChat Mini Program that incorporated Lanvin’s house legacy and Qixi’s history through gamification, allowing users to explore the brand and the Qixi collection in an engaging and creative way.
By staying away from love-related narratives, Lanvin demonstrates its careful research and respect of Chinese culture. The spotlight on the Qixi Festival folk customs such as needlework also coincides with the importance of craftsmanship rooted in the brand’s DNA.