On Monday, American lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret announced that it would be launching a collection with LVMH Karl Lagerfeld 2021 prize winner Rui Zhou’s eponymous label Rui-Built.
The creative concept behind this unexpected pairing was produced in partnership with Chinese emerging fashion cultural hub Labelhood. It will be available at select Victoria's Secret stores across China on July 25th, with pre-orders starting from July 17 on Tmall and JD.
Now a fixture on the Paris Fashion Week schedule, Shanghai-based, Hunan-born Rui is one of the global industry’s most disruptive talents right now, with sexually-empowering pieces that seem to wear the body rather than the other way around.
Zhou’s signature daringly cut-out mesh designs are instantly-recognizable. Injecting the controversially dated household name with fresh life, that aesthetic is prevalent in the new loungewear and lingerie offering.
Available in various colorways, the Victoria’s Secret x Rui-Built knit cardigans, lace slips, and pajamas sport the Chinese designer’s sultry peek-a-boo style, with bras bordered with holey lace trims and slogan t-shirts inspired by her fearlessly sexy brand image, written with "dare to say love."
"Putting on pajamas, for most people, is the most comfortable and natural interaction that clothes have with the body," Rui tells Jing Daily. "Our brand has always embraced and accepted the truest form of the wearer. We hope that this collaboration with Victoria's Secret can continue to convey this attitude to everyone in home clothing — self-love and self-care."
The Jing Take
Teaming up with a trailblazing high-end designer who champions body positivity and progressive sexuality is a sure way to win over Chinese Gen Z.
On a global scale, Victoria’s Secret has faced its fair share of backlash, to put it lightly. Its trademark airbrushed projection of femininity was outgrown by today’s body positivity movement, and its world-famous VS Angel-fronted fashion show was canceled as of November 2019.
This move, therefore, to be associated with Rui Zhou, an independent Chinese designer who is known for her inclusive model casting, and overt self-expression marks a new direction for the company.
April 2022 saw Victoria’s Secret complete a sale of a minority stake in its China business to Hong Kong-based lingerie company Regina Miracle International Ltd for 45 million (412,500,000 RMB).
That agreement involves the joint venture to operate all of the business both on and offline in the mainland. Therefore, Victoria’s Secret owns just 51 percent of its brand, with Regina Miracle taking over 49 percent.
It is high time for the brand to reinvigorate its image to fuel some revenue. Connecting with China’s young demographics is evidently the company’s strategy to do that. Opting to collaborate with Rui-Built is a great way to connect with Gen Z, seeing as the brand’s celebrity fan base consists of stars like Lily-Rose Depp and Blackpink members, and singers such as Billie Eillish, Coi Leray, and Ramp;B star Summer Walker.
Furthermore, the designer’s association with luxury fashion and body positivity enables Victoria’s Secret to be also viewed as such. Insofar, the hashtag #RuiBuilt has just 52,900 views on Xiaohongshu, and #维密xRUI-built joint series# has seen 294,000 reads on Weibo. It hasn’t yet gone viral, but it will attract discerning fashionistas, and puts Victoria’s Secret in good stead to rebrand its image.
- Victoria's Secret has tapped Rui Zhou, leveraging the cult following that surrounds the brand's it-girl fanbase of stars like Lily-Rose Depp, Billie Eillish, and Blackpink.
- The move marks one of Victoria's Secret methods to comeback from its controversial past, through collaborating with a body positive label to win over Chinese Gen Z.
- April 2022 saw Victoria’s Secret complete a sale of a minority stake in its China business to Hong Kong-based lingerie company Regina Miracle International Ltd for 45 million (412,500,000 RMB). Victoria’s Secret owns just 51 percent of its brand, with Regina Miracle taking over 49 percent in China.
- Dedicated to this collaboration, on Weibo #维密xRUI-built joint series# has garnered hundreds of thousands of likes, attracting positive attention to the Victoria's Secret brand.
- Zhou’s sex-positive mesh designs are instantly-recognizable in fashion. This collaboration is therefore injecting the controversially dated household name of Victoria's Secret with fresh life.
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