Line Includes Two Day Bags, Small Leather Goods And A T-shirt
Luxury-art partnerships between Chinese contemporary artists and major global luxury houses are becoming more common, particularly as Chinese art makes a robust recovery and brands try to create China-focused lines aimed at cashing in on booming high-end consumption in the mainland and Hong Kong. From painter Zhang Qikai’s recent partnership with Swiss watchmaker Titoni to Yang Fudong’s video for Prada to Ai Weiwei’s one-off t-shirt design for Commes des Garcons and Lu Hao’s Song Dynasty Ferrari, some of the world’s top brands are appealing to the Chinese love of rare, limited-edition collections while looking to stave off home-grown luxury brands that want to monopolize design “with Chinese characteristics.”
On May 25, the newest luxury-art partnership will make its debut in Hong Kong. Designed by Chinese artist Xue Song — most well known for his Political Pop collages — the “Xue Song for Ferragamo” limited-edition line, initially announced in March, includes two day bags, small leather goods and a t-shirt, and will launch at Salvatore Ferragamo boutiques on Canton Road and the Mandarin Oriental. The large Xue Song tote will go for $11,950, the continental wallet for $3,950, small continental wallets for $3,500, and the small tote $ 8,500. No word yet on whether these items will be available at the new Ferragamo flagship in Shanghai — the company’s largest boutique to date.
Xue Song is well known for his innovative combination of contemporary and traditional elements where calligraphy, folk art and ink paintings meet modern techniques. Inspired by the brand’s rich heritage, Xue Song created a unique painting featuring two fierce tigers, symbolizing ferocity, beauty, life, spirit and progress. This unique piece of art decorates the two limited edition daywear bags, wallets and a casual t-shirt.
Xue Song will be on hand at a launch event at the Canton Road boutique the night of May 25, 2010, and guests will be able to meet the the artist in person.
We can only expect to see the luxury-art partnership trend continuing to gain strength in the China market, particularly as brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci work harder to fight the gradually increasing “luxury fatigue” appearing among more sophisticated elites in top-tier cities. Rapidly progressing from luxury novices to informed, worldly consumers, many regular luxury shoppers in Beijing and Shanghai have already progressed to the “Way of Life” stage of luxury consumption described by Chadha and Husband in their book The Cult of the Luxury Brand: Inside Asia’s Love Affair With Luxury.
To convince these (generally fickle) buyers to stay loyal, exclusive, limited-edition collections may help luxury mega-brands like LV from being perceived as “too common” — at least for a while.