Will Versace’s China Offensive Pay Off?

What Happened: Luxury continues to seize up opportunities at Shanghai Fashion Week. Versace is the latest international name to join the physical event in an effort to connect with local voices. Firstly, it hosted an underwater-themed immersive pop-up at Shanghai’s Plaza 66 offering fans a new space to browse the new La Medusa bag and Greca sneakers. The lavish launch party was bolstered by the presence of newly appointed ambassador, Betty Wu. In addition, Versace also debuted a series of video interviews on the theme of “Tribute to Women Power.” These included insights from Shanghai Fashion Week’s “Madame Lu,” the actress Yi Song, and League of Legends’ Duan “Candice” Yushuang.

Versace’s pop-up store at Plaza 66 in Shanghai. Photo: Courtesy of Versace

The Jing Take: Versace has been operating in the China market for 25 years and now has 60 stores. This timely appearance during the country’s indispensable fashion week indicates a step up in strategy. It also shows where Versace’s future China strategy lies: growing accessories and leather goods, and the iconography of powerful women.

Brand CEO Jonathan Akeroyd explains: “We believe our product offer is diverse and well suited to the Chinese consumer who is always aware of new trends and new products that we launch.” This range includes a new eyewear collection for the Asian market later this year, which supplements the new signature Virtus bag and this year’s La Medusa line — bags with the tagline of glamour and confidence.

Regardless of the demographics, Versace attracts the same type of woman across different cities: the one with a ‘Versace attitude’ — generous, confident, daring and brave enough to be herself at every occasion,” he continues. This vision, echoed in the video series, taps into the issue of empowerment currently smoldering among Chinese society and could play well with a cross-generational wave of Chinese women who are reshaping their own standards. As its next big spenders, young Chinese women will have $1.2 trillion to spend by 2022; therefore it follows they’d want fashion lines that suit their current careers, outlooks, and lifestyles.  

Owner Capri Holdings Ltd. said it expects to return to pre-pandemic revenue and earnings levels by the fiscal year 2023. With new doors planned and existing store upgrades on the horizon, as well as “very stable and solid sales” from the menswear sector due to the success of bold patterns among male shoppers, Versace could well be taking up a good chunk of Capri Holdings’ future success. 

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.