Jessica Alba, Naomi Watts, Yao Chen And Maggie Cheung Join Opening Event
The latest in a series of large-scale luxury brand events to hit the Chinese capital in recent weeks, among them “Lanvin Loves Beijing,” the grand opening of Alexander Wang’s first Beijing store, the 3D “New Dimension Beijing” Hugo Boss fashion show and Armani’s “One Night Only In Beijing,” this weekend Montblanc inaugurated its largest global flagship store in the city’s Sanlitun neighborhood with a gala attended by Hollywood and Chinese celebrities. Stars like Jessica Alba, Naomi Watts, Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard and Maggie Cheung came out for the launch of the four-story flagship, taking in Montblanc’s presentation of its acclaimed “Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco,” created as a tribute to the late actress Grace Kelly.
The evolution of Grace Kelly from Hollywood superstar to Princess Grace, wife of Prince Rainier III of Monaco, was traced throughout the evening, with guests enjoying a recreation of the principality at the doorstep of the new Montblanc flagship. Capping off the evening’s events were a set of “digital surprise appearances” by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Elvis Presley. Clearly, Hollywood’s deepening ties with the Chinese film industry (and vice versa) are now being felt in the luxury sector as well.
Expected slower growth rates in the luxury sector in mainland China this year — which will still keep it among the world’s fastest-growing markets — apparently haven’t dampened the enthusiasm of major brands to open ever larger and more lavish flagships. More than anything, Montblanc’s latest Beijing flagship seems like a case of “keeping up with the Joneses,” as other brands like Burberry and Dior have opened similarly massive locations in the city over the past 12 months. Though projections of less feverish high-end spending among wealthier Chinese this year may cause some hand-wringing among some observers and luxury industry insiders, the likes of Montblanc, Zegna and Dunhill — brands particularly popular among middle-aged male consumers who purchase items both for themselves and as gifts — don’t seem to be too worried about their prospects in China going forward.