The latest collections from luxury brands and high fashion designers on the catwalks and beyond

 

Xi Jinping wears a parka and the company’s stock soars
While stock markets are known to fluctuate in reaction to global events, it seems they also now respond to fashion choices. Chinese President Xi Jinping has sparked a financial fashion frenzy when he wore a US$1000 cobalt blue parka that sent the stock market soaring on Tuesday. Xi was wearing the coat while inspecting the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics site, and the images were splashed around news bulletins but barely caused a ripple on social media – because of the brand’s elite urban customer base. However, its impact was felt most on the Hong Kong stock market with the Anta Group – who own the brand Arc’teryx – jumping to 9.4% – on the same day. An official sponsor of the 2022 ga
The future of fashion may be tier-2 Chinese cities
Buddhism and Hermès are unlikely bedfellows, but a former monastery in Chengdu has become a center for selfies and handbags, thanks to the brightly lit Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li mega-mall.  While the pandemic has contributed to China’s role as a future fashion leader, with cities to rival Paris and Milan, that doesn’t mean all the attention should be focused on Shanghai. Far from it, in fact. While Western luxury brands have traditionally poured all of their resources into securing the best sites in Chinese international hubs, these cities are becoming saturated and cripplingly expensive.  The next big frontier arguably lies in capturing the market in so-called tier-two and tier-three cities. “G
The man who brought Western fashion to China
French fashion designer Pierre Cardin, who died on December 29, 2020 at the age of 98, was a pioneer for Western fashion in China.  In 1979 he became the first Western fashion designer to stage a fashion show in China, soon after the country adopted its reform and opening-up policy. In 1983, he opened a Beijing outpost of his Parisian restaurant Maxim’s about 3km from Tiananmen Square. The high-end establishment is where many Beijingers had their first taste of authentic French food without having to set foot in France. After his death, the China team of Pierre Cardin hosted a memorial service at the restaurant to honor the entrepreneurial designer. The dining hall was arranged with festive
How fashion designers are transforming traditional Chinese clothing with Christmas styles
Fashion designers in China have embraced the Christmas spirit this year, transforming the ancient Han dress into festive colors and styles.  Hanfu, or ethnic Han clothing, date back 4,000 years and typically features a sweeping robe depicting dragons or lotus flowers, a cross collar, wide sleeves and a sash.  But just as designers have done with the kimono in Japan, China’s Hanfu has been dramatically reworked too. Yet while many young people have welcomed putting a Christmas spin on the centuries-old attire, Hanfu traditionalists remain concerned at such innovations, said Tan Ningijng, the brand director of Guanzhi Weavings, one of China’s largest online Hanfu stores. Tan said traditionali
Instagram crashes through China's Great Firewall to woo wealthy shoppers
Banned in China but popular among the country’s elite, American-owned social media site Instagram is a ‘gold mine’ for international brands to reach the country’s luxury shoppers, according to experts. Launched in 2010, Instagram is part of a long list of websites and apps banned by the Chinese government. Facebook, Google and Twitter were blocked, followed a few years later in 2014 by Instagram. In its place, Chinese-owned social media sites have sprung up, gaining millions of followers for a local audience. But experts believe that many international brands are missing out on the vast captive audience of some of the richest, most sophisticated customers in the country, as Instagram has ris
Alibaba trounces Amazon in the world of high fashion
Amazon is the pre-eminent e-commerce company in the world, and its decades of supremacy in America have turned its founder Jeff Bezos into the world’s richest man.  But despite flirting with high fashion – the giant e-commerce company ran its first fashion advert in 2012 – Amazon clothing has been more “brandless fleece coat” than “embellished high-fashion catwalk.” Luxury fashion, almost uniquely among retail sectors, has been largely untouched by the online giant. Not for much longer – according to Amazon, anyway. In the US last month, the mega platform launched its latest bid for the luxury market with a glossy new designer section. Brands can create their own digital online boutiques wi
Fashion brands no longer see Hong Kong as bridge to 1.4 billion consumers
Make it in Hong Kong and you might just break into China. This unofficial business plan has served international fashion brands well for the last decade. But in a shift that could prove seismic for the city’s fashion industry, brands with little to no presence in Greater China are increasingly bypassing Hong Kong and making Shanghai or Beijing their first port of call. As a city that European and American brands identify with in terms of culture, language and shopping habits, Hong Kong has long benefited from its reputation as a China-light launch pad. Lane Crawford, which is headquartered in Hong Kong, has long been the first stop for foreign designers hoping the crack the China code.  The
Designing clothes for China’s working women
When Alicia Lee launched her own fashion label, more than seven years ago, it was something of an uphill struggle. In many ways the design part was the easiest. Finding distributors and factories prepared to commit to smaller production runs was the trickiest part. It was particularly difficult for the Beijing-based designer, who was located some distance from where most China garment factories are. Being in the capital, however, did offer one huge advantage – the concentration of media organizations there made it easy to cultivate contacts from fashion and lifestyle magazines. “When I launched in 2012, the designers here got a lot of attention,” recalls Lee. “It was easy to get exposure wi
Made by ‘mermaids’: China’s unique fish-skin fashion
You Wenfeng is one of only a few people who know how to create clothing from fish skin, a skill of the ethnic Hezhen people – who were once so skilled plying the waters of the nearby Heilong River that they are said to be “descended from mermaids.” The 68-year-old woman from Tongjiang, a city in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang province near the border with Russia, fears the loss of the ancient tradition. But that may start to change. She has started teaching others her craft. The exotic aquatic leather has also caught the eye of international fashion designers working for the likes of Dior and Prada.
The rise and fall of Hong Kong socialite Azura
On October 15, 2018, 46-year-old tech expert Jason, from New York, flew to Hong Kong on a week-long business trip.  He checked into a room at the Four Seasons, in Central, and when a lunch appointment was canceled, he happily nursed an afternoon drink at the hotel’s Pool Bar. “Then I looked up,” he recalls, “and this incredible, striking woman walked in.” Jason remembers her warmly embracing the waitstaff, who responded with a fawning adoration reserved for regular clients. “She was shown to the table next to me, we made eye contact, she smiled, and that was it,” Jason says. Newly separated from his wife, his enchantment could be forgiven. Her lips were full, her flowing, lust­rous hair fram