In case you missed them the first time around, here are some of Jing Daily’s top posts for the week of January 28-February 1:
This past weekend, art lovers, dealers, and collectors from throughout Asia and around the world flocked to Art Stage Singapore, the first international art fair of 2013. Despite a strong Southeast Asian flavor, this year’s edition, held at the Marina Bay Sands Exhibition and Convention Center, presented contemporary art in a dynamic intercultural context, with a Project Stage for emerging Asian art and a dedicated Singapore Platform to represent domestic arts venues. In all, around 130 galleries from 26 countries took part in Art Stage, attracting better attendance and sales than last year’s edition. According to the Wall Street Journal, 40,500 people attended the fair, up from 35,000 in 2012.
Looking for the perfect Chinese New Year gift for the luxury devotee who’d be turned off by Year of the Snake editions by brands like Alexander McQueen, Smart, and Vacheron Constantin? Look no further than Gucci’s China-facing luggage tags, imprinted with one of two auspicious golden characters — 囍 (“double happiness”) or 福 (“luck”) — and crafted in blue or red leather. Far less overt than other recent China-facing collections, Gucci’s tags seem to be getting a largely (yet not unanimously) positive response on Sina Weibo.
Having firmly established itself as a critical luxury market, China has become a fierce battleground for brands looking to set themselves apart and, more importantly, get a better return on their ample investment. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in the digital space, where brands have spent handsomely to reach and influence China’s young, digitally native, and “luxury-obsessed” consumer. With Chinese consumers increasingly turning to mobile devices for news and e-commerce, getting product information and brand updates in bite-sized pieces via Weibo and WeChat, “mini-movies” (微电影) — trailer-length, cinematic segments often featuring celebrity faces – have moved to the forefront as an effective and timely marketing tool.
Since bursting onto the culinary scene at Paris’ Cafe Mosaic, the globally minded French-born and trained chef Paul Pairet has amassed international accolades for his “French-but-not-French style.” Venturing to Shanghai in 2005, Pairet ran Jade on 36 at the Shangri-La Hotel Pudong through 2008, then the following year added Mr & Mrs Bund, a French-inspired eatery nestled in the historic Bund, to the city’s fine dining scene. Shifting gears to dabble in the avant-garde, in 2012 Pairet opened Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, a concept the chef had incubated for 15 years, brought to life in a purposefully mysterious yet groundbreaking dining experience.
Premium American brand Coach, which currently looms large in China’s “affordable luxury” segment, continues to show a knack for marketing in what has become one of its critical global markets. Recently, as part of season four of the popular Chinese reality show “Creative Sky” (创意星空) — a “Project Runway”-like competition program aimed at finding the brightest young Chinese design talent — China-born, Sweden-raised, Central Saint Martins-educated contestant Jennifer Yan (严韬) won the “Coach Award” challenge.