The ultimate Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr 2023 gift guide for her

The ultimate Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr 2023 gift guide for her


by Sarah Joseph
5 mins ago

With small gestures going a long way, gifting during Ramadan and Eid is the best way to show your appreciation for all your loved ones.
From sophisticated fragrances to ornate jewellery pieces, this gifting edit features an expansive selection of products that will be perfect during Iftar time as people gather at one of the family members’ houses and break their fasts together.
Add this edit to your bookmarks as we’ll add more hero buys for gift inspiration to treat your loved ones or yourself this Ramadan and Eid.
Swipe through our edit of gifts hand-picked to make your shopping process a whole lot easier.

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Images: Supplied & Feature Image: Supplied by Jimmy Choo

In pics: 10 of Sheikha Mahra Al Maktoum’s most refined fashion moments

In pics: 10 of Sheikha Mahra Al Maktoum’s most refined fashion moments


by Sarah Joseph
1 hour ago

Her Highness Sheikha Mahra bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, daughter of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is known for her luxe sartorial choices.
Seen visiting several openings and attending new launches in the UAE, Sheikha Mahra is continuously spotted in striking new outfits.
Known for her abayas in various pastel hues, Her Highness is constantly impressing her fans by giving them inspiration on what to wear next.
With her active Instagram page, Emirates Woman has curated a gallery of the best looks which we simply can’t take our eyes off.
– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
Images: Supplied & Feature image: Instagram @hhshmahra

Brunello Cucinelli gives the traditional abaya a contemporary spin

Brunello Cucinelli gives the traditional abaya a contemporary spin


by Ruman Baig
March 23, 2023

Brunello Cucinelli’s latest abaya range amalgamates the craftsmanship of the Italian fashion house with rich Arab traditions, bringing together histories of two strong cultures.
Crafted with the highest-quality materials and artisanal workmanship, Brunello Cucinelli’s current collection is rooted heavily in luxury. The abaya line features five different abaya styles, each with a matching Shayla. The silhouettes are available in two tailored styles: a traditional design with dropped shoulders and invisible buttons, and the other one is more structured and has details like blazer-style shoulders and shawl lapels – a trademark of the brand. Classic silk crêpe, laminated silk, summer-weight wool bearing traditional patterns and tone-on-tone overall sequins reflect the minimal yet opulent versatility of this collection.
Style 1: All-over sequins
This particular abaya style features eleven different pieces, each individually ornamented to generate an effortless end result. The glittering sequins reflect diffused light to create not just a statement with the outfit but a moment of art with fashion. This one-of-a-kind effect is perfected through a special embroidery machine, which takes about 23 hours and millions of sequins to craft a solo abaya. You can buy them in two neutral colours – warm beige and black, as it complements the shayla.
Style 2: Tone-on-tone regimental embroidery
To perfect the tone-on-tone pattern of this peculiar abaya style, all the eleven fabric pieces are individually embroidered with a regimental pattern. Sequins of two different sizes are used to reimagine the stripes from the house’s classic tailoring design. After 19 painstaking hours and thousands of sequins, the abaya finally becomes ready to hit the stores.

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Images: Supplied

Top-tier Luxury Spending Forecast Still Looks Rosy

Top-tier Luxury Spending Forecast Still Looks Rosy

“It’s probably not worth their while to be the richest person in the graveyard.”
That revelation is why top-tier consumers are fueling luxury sales in the sector, according to Luca Solca, who summed up the global luxury market Thursday night at a French American Chamber of Commerce event in New York. Just how long that mindset will last remains a matter of debate, the Bernstein senior analyst said. High-end demand in Europe and the U.S. is still very healthy after two strong years of sales. Inevitably though, this post-pandemic euphoria will normalize, Solca added.

The freewheeling spending is being driven mostly by “how people feel, what they want to do and what they want to spend money on,” Solca said. Even if some consumers’ see their stock market portfolios decreasing, they “don’t care and want to have a good time” after experiencing two terrible years due to the pandemic, Solca said. As many are eager to be out and about again, the demand for new dresses, shoes and handbags is outweighing jewelry purchases, which spiked due to gifting during the pandemic and continue to show strong results, he added.

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Before the pandemic, Chinese shoppers accounted for 30 to 33 percent of luxury consumers; American consumers comprised 22 percent, and European ones accounted for 18 percent. More recently, the surge by American and European shoppers in the past two years has taken some of the overall market share from Chinese consumers, however, with the lifting of lockdowns in China in the past few months, the expectation for 2023 “is a very strong rebound for Chinese luxury spending,” Solca said, adding that estimates that that market could grow at 7 percent seem “very low,” based on feedback from companies in China that have indicated the potential to double or triple sales in their own stores there. The rebound sparked by Chinese consumers is expected to extend into next year, which would be conducive to sustaining “above-average demand for the industry,” as in double-digit percentage gains on average this year and next, he said.

To highlight “how thin the penetration of Chinese demand is, Solca noted how Louis Vuitton indicated in 2018 that it had 5 million Chinese consumers globally, representing .03 percent of the population in China.

Noting how that may bode well for the stock market, Solca said he has never been so busy speaking with investors in the last 20 years.

Referring to Global Blue data, Solca said that between 2019 and 2022 the top spenders globally have grown between 2.6 and 2.7 times and the bottom spenders have grown by about 30 percent. With the return of shoppers from China, who can now travel more freely, luxury stores, including some that already have waiting lists and require appointments, could potentially get very crowded, he said. “This could cause the service levels of our industry to get worse. They are already poor, frankly with the queuing [that is sometimes] required in front of the stores, and waiting forever to get what you want.”

“The industry is building on a paradox, by selling the perception and illusion of exclusivity while growing exponentially,” Solca said. Modern luxury brands have reconciled that by never discounting “to maintain that perception of exclusivity while selling as much as they possibly can,” he said.

Not anticipating a slowdown in American or European luxury spending anytime soon, Solca noted how the luxury industry in Europe is considered as strong as the technology sector there. “LVMH has the largest market cap in Europe today,” he said.

The greatest risks to the luxury market are geopolitical developments — namely if the relationship between the U.S. and China continues to deteriorate, and international trade suffered, with sanctions applied to China. “This would be a very good day to buy luxury goods stocks, because they would fall a lot,” he said.

Another challenge for retailers is how social media and online information and interest are deterring some from in-store visits. That means stores need to be more exciting and engaging — hence the influx of pop-ups and limited-edition designs — and the added fixed costs of such endeavors. That is also leading to greater consolidation and the “big companies get bigger and smaller brands struggling to stay in the game, because they don’t have the ability to spend more and human resources to dedicate towards all of these new fronts that have been emerging,” Solca said.

The uptick in top-tier luxury spending has lead to dedicated VIP rooms, and soon by-appointment VIP stores, Solca said. Increasingly, luxury brands are reducing wholesale accounts to avoid competing with them, building their own direct-to-consumer and maintaining full-price shopping. Gucci, Prada and Burberry, for example, have halved their wholesale presence, Solca said.

Gucci Valigeria, Paris Saint-Honoré. The brand was cited by NewStore as a omnichannel leader.

Dominique Maître for Gucci

Afterward, he spoke with WWD about how luxury brands need to be integrating and upstreaming manufacturing so that they produce goods directly to secure capacity and to claim that ESG criteria. “The time of greenwashing is over. Companies need to be true to what they say. That is the best insurance policy. That is the best guarantee — that you are respecting the environment and the workers as well.

Luca Solca

Photo Courtesy

He also spoke about how luxury brands are seeing robust sales from their top-shelf spenders, while also using their advertising and social media to cast a wider and more diverse net. “They use different categories for different customers. All of the luxury brands are getting into beauty because that is the luxury of the poor so you give that to the masses,” he said, noting how couture, the most expensive products, uphold a brand’s highest standard. “[Luxury] brands are going into beauty and couture to be different things to different people,“ Solca said.

There’s a battle for attention that is going on, too. “Why do these collaborations like the one with all the polka dots [that Louis Vuitton] with Yayoi Kusama? To attract attention,” Solca said.

“Who you are and how important you are in the world is probably more important than the technical skills that you bring to the job of designing whatever line you are responsible for because you have very strong teams behind you any way,” he said.

Luxury Resale Start-ups Gem, Switch, Expand Categories

Luxury Resale Start-ups Gem, Switch, Expand Categories

Vintage search engine app Gem is unveiling a new look Monday.
Gem works like any other search engine, allowing shoppers to find nearby vintage and thrift stores by entering any number of keywords. The tool — navigable as a website via and apps for both iPhone and Android — indexes about 50 million listings (from physical and online storefronts). Its emphasis is on helping existing secondhand marketplaces and store owners increase traffic and sales, while securing repeat business.

The overhauled version includes category browsing so users can hunt items by category, including women’s, men’s, brand name or decade, instead of just a keyword.

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“We think that every existing garment should be re-worn, appreciated and taken care of as long as possible,” said Liisa Jokinen, the app’s cofounder. “Our long-term goal is to make secondhand the first choice for more people. To achieve this goal, secondhand shopping needs to be more accessible, compelling and easier than before, and we hope that Gem in general, and the new category browsing feature in this update, will help with this.”

Gem, as well as start-ups like Beni, seek to make a shopper’s search for secondhand simple. In the case of Gem, revenue is generated from affiliate shopping sales, though no recent figures were provided.

On the side of luxury accessory rental, players like Vivrelle and Switch have reinvigorated the accessory rental model, much the same way Gem has reinvented vintage search. Also on Monday, luxury jewelry rental purveyor Switch debuted its newest membership tier, “Switch Select” which marks a newfound brand expansion into luxury handbags.

Switch counts recent investors like Human Capital and Watertower Ventures.

Switch’s bags carry an average value of $4,000 and its newest rental tier lets members rent and exchange items as often as they want for $195 per month. The membership also consists of high-end jewelry, including names like Chanel, Hermès, Van Cleef & Arpels and Christian Dior. The company said thousands of people have signed up since a waitlist became available in June.

Bottega Veneta Prioritizes ‘Value Over Volume’

Bottega Veneta Prioritizes ‘Value Over Volume’

Bottega Veneta’s handbags are made in days, not hours — and now some are warrantied for a lifetime.
The Italian luxury brand’s chief executive officer Bartolomeo “Leo” Rongone revealed the new service program at WWD’s Apparel and Retail CEO Summit, noting that certain of Bottega Veneta’s iconic bags can be brought in for complimentary refresh and repair, and will be replaced free of charge in some cases.

Called “Certificate of Craft,” the program is launching this month. The service also provides for courtesy loaner handbags in cases when repairs are lengthy, he said. According to a release issued after the event, the certificate is offered via a physical card associated with the serial number of the bag in question.

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“We believe that true luxury is connected to the concept of time,” Rongone said during an on-stage conversation with Luisa Zargani’s, WWD’s Milan bureau chief.

He asked a colleague in the audience to hoist up the brand’s handwoven Kalimero bag, a bucket style that requires some 55 meters of calf leather and which is created without any stitching. Rongone noted that the artisan simply changes the pressure of the weaving process to realize the curved portions.

Bottega Veneta’s Kalimero bag on the spring 2023 runway.

Consequently, “there are no two bags identical,” and if an artisan falls ill before the bag is completed, Bottega Veneta must wait for him or her to return to work to finish the object, he noted.

“Use your product for longer; keep it forever,” he urged. “We consistently prioritize value over volume.”

So how will Bottega Veneta, part of publicly traded French luxury group Kering, continue to grow its business while it is urging a more restrained, yet elevated brand of consumption?

Rongone argued that its value proposition is “seducing a larger audience” and that the number of its clients is increasing.

“Definitely one of the most genuine connections with sustainability is to use the product for longer, not replacing it. This level is way more impactful,” he explained. “We all want to be successful in our lives. But do you want to be remembered for being the largest? Or the most impactful?”

The executive credited Bottega Veneta’s new creative director Matthieu Blazy, who was promoted to the top job in November 2021 after the ouster of Daniel Lee, for embracing the brand’s legacy of “extraordinary craftsmanship” and challenging the artisans at its Montebello leather goods atelier to push techniques to new limits.

These include garments that Blazy described as “perverse banality”: blue jeans, T-shirts and flannel shirts realized in leather treated to resemble ones made of knitted or woven fabrics. Wearing some of the leather jeans on stage, Rongone lauded the “constant caress of the nubuck” leather for the wearer to enjoy.

He characterized the brand as non-conformist since, unlike most luxury labels, it has no logo.

What’s more, in 2021, Bottega Veneta raised eyebrows and generated headlines for taking itself off Instagram, which has become the dominant channel for numerous fashion brands.

“We do this to keep creativity at the center. Creativity drives us much more than media” he explained.

In lieu of social media, Bottega Veneta fosters what Rongone called “cultural affinity platforms.” A recent example was the dinner the Italian brand held during New York Fashion Week at famed used book store The Strand, along with a limited-edition leather reworking of its iconic tote bags.

“In a moment of high visibility on digital, we wanted to give importance to the physical, to paper, to a bookshop that probably has more than 100 years of history,” he said.

Despite its abstention from social media, Rongone described a “fantastic” rapport with Gen Z clients.

He described the relationship brands have with customers on Instagram as “one to many….You are talking to someone.”

If this is removed from the equation then people are free to talk about brands. “Gen Z love these conditions. They love talking about us. They share opinions, ideas, and we love to learn,” he enthused.

The executive also insisted that having no logo is a plus in the face of this generation of consumers.

“They want to be themselves. So it may look like strange in reality, but having no logo has been one of the largest, the most important levers of engagement with the youngsters,” he said.

Rongone highlighted several strong historical links between Bottega Veneta and New York City. The wife of one of the founders lived in Manhattan in the late ’60s, and was hired by Andy Warhol to answer phones at The Factory “and say, ‘I don’t speak English,’” thereby serving as a “filter” for the sought-after art superstar.

The Italian brand, founded as a collective of artisans in 1966, opened its very first store on New York’s Madison Avenue in 1972, a time when the brand was gaining renown for its distinctive leather weaving and its tag line “When your own initials are enough.”

“They were firmly believing that they were creating a brand that was celebrating the uniqueness, the quality of people,” Rongone said. “The founders had this idea in mind of creating this extraordinary, luxurious brand, and to celebrate individuality, something that we call today diversity.”

Dover Street Market Beijing Relocates to Forbidden City-adjacent Luxury Mall

Dover Street Market Beijing Relocates to Forbidden City-adjacent Luxury Mall

SHANGHAI — After 12 years, Dover Street Market Beijing officially closed its Taikoo Li Sanlitun location on Friday.
According to the store’s official Wechat account, Dover Street Market Beijing will be relocating to WF Central, a luxury shopping mall complex close to the Forbidden City. The new store is set to open in November.

In partnership with Hong Kong retailer I.T, Dover Street Market Beijing opened in 2010 under the name I.T Beijing Market. As Dover Street Market’s only retail outpost in China, the all-white, four-story glass building became a landmark presence in the Taikoo Li Sanlitun North District.

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Dover Street Market Beijing’s Taikoo Li Sanlitun location

The store’s brand selection and visual identity stayed in line with the Dover Street Market franchise. The only difference was the Beijing store was directly linked to a Bape store, an I.T flagship brand, on its ground floor.

In 2018, the store changed its name to Dover Street Market Beijing. The name switch was aimed at “making Beijing a part of the DSM community,” and it was not only a business decision, Adrian Joffe, chief executive officer of Dover Street Market, told local media at the time.

According to an I.T spokesperson, the new WF Central Dover Street Market Beijing will be slightly bigger than the Taikoo Li Sanlitun one, which spans over 23,680 square feet.

Opened in 2018, WF Central is the first luxury shopping mall in the touristy Wangfujing area. It is home to luxury brands such as Dior, Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent. It also houses the first Serpentine Pavilion overseas.

Taikoo Li Sanlitun declined to reveal the next tenant for the building. According to Xiaohongshu, the popular social commerce platform, Louis Vuitton is set to take over the location and open a Louis Vuitton Maison, the equivalent of a major flagship.

Louis Vuitton currently has three Maison stores in China, located at Beijing’s China World Mall, Shanghai’s Plaza 66 and Chengdu’s Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li.

EXCLUSIVE: Louis Vuitton Takes Men’s Spring 2023 Show to China’s Aranya Gold Coast

EXCLUSIVE: Louis Vuitton Takes Men’s Spring 2023 Show to China’s Aranya Gold Coast

SHANGHAI — Louis Vuitton is planning a “spin-off” show for its men’s spring 2023 collection on Sept. 16.
The event will take place at Aranya Gold Coast, a resort town in Beidaihe that’s a two-hour train ride from Beijing, neighboring the beachside sanatorium frequented by China‘s party elites.

Created by the Louis Vuitton studio, the collection was initially shown during Paris men’s fashion week last June with a “playground” themed runway show at the Louvre.

Aranya, which means “a silent and peaceful place away from clamor and crowd” in Sanskrit, is a 4.3 million square-meter coastal real estate development that boasts a collection of “cultural spaces,” including a seaside chapel, a “Lonely Library,” UCCA Dune and Aranya Art Center.

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The show will take place at 5:30 p.m. China time with livestreams on the brand’s official website and across social media channels such as Wechat and Weibo.

The Aranya spin-off will be the second time the French luxury house has staged a menswear show in China.

In August 2020, Louis Vuitton unveiled an outdoor fashion spectacle at Shanghai’s West Bund. Under the late Virgil Abloh‘s stewardship at the time, the livestreamed spectacle generated more than 100 million views worldwide.

Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton, said the event also contributed to strong sales and preorder results in the region. Burke told WWD that customers spend “10 times more” after a spin-off show is staged.

Last September, a spin-off of the original women’s spring 2022 fashion presentation of Nicolas Ghesquière’s was reprised in Shanghai with 21 new looks and three bags. The Shipyard Repair Docks by the Huangpu River were transformed into a ballroom strung with more than 1,000 chandeliers.

Ghesquière’s first spin-off show in China garnered 158 million views online.

Despite Beijing’s strict zero-COVID-19 policy limiting travel and a slowing economy, China continues to be one of the world’s most important luxury markets. Louis Vuitton is pushing ahead with reimagining the traveling fashion show to boost sales.

In collaboration with the Aranya Gold Coast community, Louis Vuitton will entrust its local team to introduce localized elements at the Aranya spin-off, such as “a series of cultural happenings from contemporary dance and film screenings” and “a party at sundown.”

Excited Aranya residents offered a preview of the spin-off on Xiaohongshu, the popular Chinese social commerce platform. A larger-than-life sculpture of a young man staring longingly into the sky and various skyscraper-shaped sculptures, both signature design elements of Abloh’s Vuitton, are being erected by the coast-side chapel.

Posts shared on Xiaohongshu of the work-in-progress of Louis Vuitton’s Aranya spin-off.

“Each show has an intimate relationship with its predecessor and announces its successor. A spin-off reinforces and builds on the previous show,” Burke told WWD previously, drawing distinction between restaging a show and creating a renewed sense of luxurious experience.

Vuitton will be the second luxury brand to host a large-scale fashion show event in China this year. In August, Prada restaged a mashup of its men’s and women’s fall 2022 collections in Beijing’s Prince Jun’s Mansion, a courtyard hotel in the traditional Chinese style.

On the women’s side, Vuitton recently hosted five small-scale runway shows for its VIP clientele, according to Xiaohongshu, a popular social commerce platform.

Top clients in Beijing, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Dalian were able to enjoy a revised version of women’s fall 2022 runway collection, sip Champagne and place orders.

Despite Store Closures, Niche Brands Can Still Make It Big in China

Despite Store Closures, Niche Brands Can Still Make It Big in China

SHANGHAI — Off-White is the latest international fashion brand to scale back its China operations after the country’s key cities went through months-long COVID-19 lockdowns.According to local media reports, the label founded by the late Virgil Abloh recently shut down four stores in Shanghai, Chengdu and Xi’an.
The brand still operates seven stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Shenyang and Chengdu.
The store inside Shanghai’s upscale Réel Mall has been replaced with Totême, WWD observed on Tuesday. The only store that remains open in Shanghai is located in Galeries Lafayette Shanghai, which is operated by I.T, the same local retail partner as Off-White.
Both Off-White and I.T did not respond immediately to WWD’s requests for comment.

Industry experts believe the brand remains popular in second- and third-tier cities, but as its China franchise operator I.T goes through a retail reorganization post-lockdown, Off-White’s retail future remains up in the air.

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When Off-White entered the market in 2017, the pop-culture association quickly ignited the interest of young hypebeasts.
The brand expanded to 16 stores by the end of 2020. Its marketing initiatives included a focus on exclusive and limited product offerings in China. But at the time, local media outlets discovered that Off-White-related content is highly associated with keywords like “discount” on Xiaohongshu, the popular social-commerce app.
According to local retail insiders, despite quickly expanding its retail network, the brand fell short on localized branding and content creation.
“Shoppers didn’t truly get the vibe of Off-White to begin with, and in China, the cost of forgetting is extremely low,” said a fashion buyer of a well-known retail operator in Shanghai.

Backstage at Trussardi RTW Fall 2022

Daniele Mango/WWD

But Off-White isn’t alone. Italian luxury label Trussardi also decided to suspend direct operations in China recently. The brand is in the process of closing one directly operated store but retains its franchise and wholesale business in China.
“The strategy has evolved in light of the changing context in the market,” Sebastian Suhl, the brand’s chief executive officer, told WWD at the time.
“The pandemic impacted the whole retail landscape for brands in every segment. That’s the negative side of the story,” said real estate operator URF’s chairman and founder Dickson Szeto.
“But on the other hand, we see brands with a positive attitude that have taken branding and storytelling to the next level. That’s why we also see companies like OTB doubling down on the market. They can capture the opportunities presented by clients who couldn’t travel abroad to shop,” added Szeto.

A look from Nanushka for resort 2023.


Samuel Ross’ fashion venture A-Cold-Wall, Sequoia Capital China-backed South Korean fashion brand We11done, as well as Alexandre Mattiussi’s Ami, British handbag brand By Far, Polish underground club kid favorite Misbhv, and Hungarian label Nanushka under Vanguard Group are some entrants gearing up for brick-and-mortar store launches in the Chinese market this year.
Meanwhile, Holzweiler, the Scandinavian brand recently backed by Sequoia Capital China, plans to open a Tmall store this fall, according to market sources.

Angelica Cheung, venture partner at the firm and founding editor of Vogue China, who just relocated from Beijing to Hong Kong with her family, believes Holzweiler has “a huge opportunity to expand to other parts of the world, especially at a time when audiences value nature, the outdoors, and human connection more than ever before.”

Suzanne, Andreas and Maria Skappel Holzweiler.

Courtesy of Holzweiler

In a post-lockdown China, shifts in consumer attitudes have created space for new players that can fulfill shoppers’ changing style needs.
“Consumer’s emotions are increasingly complex and volatile after the pandemic, leading to more eclectic aesthetic needs,” said Xueying Sun, WGSN China’s senior editor. “We see a return to classics and practicality, and at the same time a call for extremely trendy and artistic designs.”
Sun thinks niche brands need to produce products with “flexible design elements with traffic driving features.”
Szeto said brands “can’t ‘lie flat,’ but must aggressively maintain a positive online attitude, or online storytelling approach.”
For Shanghai-based Julio Ng, executive director of the fashion showroom Seiya Nakamura 2.24, which represents more than 40 brands including Rick Owens, Christopher Kane, Dion Lee, Ganni, Marine Serre, Peter Do, Stefan Cooke and Tomo Koizumi, niche brands must also constantly reinvent their hero products to keep the surprise alive.
“Consumers in China right now have the money to spend. The best way to improve and experience fashion is to spend the money to buy it, wear it and try it,” said Ng.
“But once it’s been worn, its photo has been taken or posted on social media, the value of the pieces decreases. So designers have to reinvent their so-called signature pieces constantly. That’s the most important part,” he added.

Eli Russell Linnetz of ERL.

Dominique MAITRE/WWD

To maintain momentum, Ng thinks brands need to pick up the pace with fresh product releases.
“When the market is saturated, and a brand has not been able to reinvent those bestselling styles, it very often leads to a decline in wholesale. And once that happens, it basically just collapsed everywhere,” said Ng.
Both Szeto and Ng suggest young niche brands take on “short-term activities” such as pop-ups or brand-related in-store activities to make some noise in the market when it reaches peak influence.

For example, the Shanghai-based concept store ENG plans to launch a pop-up for Eli Russell Linnetz’s namesake label ERL this September, while Marine Serre is looking into similar activations in the market.
“But we realized that an installation at a store is not enough. What’s more important is how these installation or community programs tie back to the brand and each of the retailers, VIP customers, or followers,” said Ng.
Initial brand building means maintaining a healthy relationship with seed customers, which includes local celebrities, influencers and VIPs, who will become an asset for niche players to help with organic growth.

Marine Serre, spring 2023

Courtesy of Primexposureimage/Ma

“The brands need to make these people feel like they are a part of the brand family, they are cared for, this is also an important attitude to communicate,” said Szeto.
When the brand sees enough traffic on social media and e-commerce sites like Tmall, there’s a window of time to establish a permanent retail presence in the market.
“Normally, I would say if you reach 1 million euros in wholesale orders in China alone, you can consider finding a Taobao Partner company to set up a Tmall International or Tmall Local online store,” said Ng.
“But if you don’t reach that amount, I would say don’t even think about it, because even though if you set it up, you know you end up spending a lot of money for digital and offline marketing. And you might not even see any sort of payoff,” he added.

For Chinese Valentine’s Day, Creating Nuanced Campaigns Wins the Day

For Chinese Valentine’s Day, Creating Nuanced Campaigns Wins the Day

SHANGHAI — Chinese Valentine’s day, or Qixi Festival, is the third love-themed festival in the China market, after the real Valentine’s Day and 520.Qixi stems from the Han Dynasty mythology that celebrated the tale of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl, who could only reunite on the Milky Way once a year.
From early July to Aug. 4, which is the day of Qixi Festival, top luxury brands gradually released Qixi capsules and visuals that bring a refreshing take on the topic.
As COVID-19-related lockdown measures in key markets eased, Qixi “may also be the first festival that many couples are celebrating together this year,” said Pablo Mauron, partner and managing director of China at Digital Luxury Group. “This also gives brands a key opportunity to develop marketing messages that emotionally resonate with the audience.”

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Dior tapped its China ambassador Yi Lin and friend of the house Yihan Sun, to star in campaigns that featured the Dior Jardin, Lucky Dior and Rose Dior Couture jewelry collections. A wide range of products, including the popular Book Tote and Lady Dior handbag, were featured.
Louis Vuitton turned to supermodel Cong He and its mascots Vivienne and Gaston to front a Qixi campaign washed over in pastel. The collection featured playful items in the handbag, fashion accessories and watch categories. Louis Vuitton also launched a WeChat Mini Program blind box game and a mascot-themed Qixi sticker collection for the occasion.
Captured by Anders Edström in Milan, Prada featured Chinese models Shuping Li and Liren Shi rubbing shoulders in a deserted cityscape, only matching gold handbags and accessories, gray and white outfits indicate they are about to meet.
Highlighting handbag products was of prominence for a number of luxury brands.
Maison Margiela enlisted Nowness to create a dreamy story called “Pillowery Confessions” around its classic Glam Slam handbag. Themed “I love you, but I’ve chosen Versace,” the Italian luxury brand chose to highlight the Greca Goddess handbag for Qixi in youthful peach blossom pink. Ferragamo featured Chinese singer and actress Jing Fu toting the iconic Trifolio handbag in red.
“Unlike local shopping events such as 618 or Double 11, events like Qixi and 520 are not typically associated with promotional activities, which provides brands with a good window to communicate about new products and festival-exclusive collections, instead of focusing on discounts,” Mauron said.
Thus, for some luxury and fashion players, pushing out a campaign that doesn’t explicitly mention Qixi, but can reroute attention to specific key product offerings became the objective. Saint Laurent showed a summer-friendly collection called “La Piscine & Sunkissed” featuring fashion and lifestyle products including a surfboard, bath towels and swimwear.
For other luxury players, creating a nuanced regional campaign around romance became just as crucial as selling Qixi-related capsules this year.
In the case of Bottega Veneta, which Matthieu Blazy took over as creative director this March, Qixi became an occasion to wax poetic about the diversity of love.

In a “Call Me By Your Name”-style video set in the seaside city of Qingdao in Shandong province, Chinese videographer Jess Zhou and photographer Meng Zhi captured three pairs of real-life partners roaming around town on bikes, dressed in palettes of black, white, cream or green Bottega Veneta pieces, which goes well with the natural splendor of the resort town.
Titled “Love, In Motion,” the campaign featured two pairs of same-sex couples, whom casting director Denise Hu discovered on Xiaohongshu, the popular social-commerce app. The brand gifted bike bells to VIP clients in sync with the biking-themed visuals.
Mauron thinks luxury brands have to act as cultural trailblazers in the market “to guide narratives instead of merely following marketing trends,” he said.
“Despite the fact that China’s social landscape is quite different from that of the West, luxury brands are delivering inclusive messages in order to strengthen their connections with certain segments of consumers who were previously overlooked by the mainstream market over the last few decades,” Mauron said.
To understand love or human relationships in the digitized future, Balenciaga revealed a Qixi campaign with a dystopian twist. Featuring robots produced by Engineered Arts Limited, a U.K.-based company specializing in humanoid robots, and photographed by Andrea Artemisio, Balenciaga’s simple point-and-shoot visual amplified a sense of hyper-reality. “Models” were dressed in Qixi Crest caps and T-shirts that featured a cupid figurine, Qixi Hearts-printed garments, and they carried pink mini hourglass bags.
Exploring a different side of Qixi, the Chinese-owned French luxury house Lanvin’s campaign moved away from the unrequited love of the beloved folk tale to present a collection that celebrates sisterhood, which can be just as romantic.
Lanvin retold an older version of the Qixi story, when young girls gathered and worshipped the moon, praying they could adapt dexterous sewing skills, a virtue for women at the time. The collection featured illustrations collaged with Qixi design elements, such as pearls and daisies. The capsule consists of fashion jewelry, logo tote bags, a quilted Happy Bag and apparel.

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