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Why luxury groups are betting on the West Bund Art Center in Shanghai

By Herve Dewintre


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The first cases of Covid-19 were discovered in China, but ironically it is in China that the major fashion and luxury groups will seek their salvation. The reason is quite simple: on the one hand, the recovery has already taken place in China, even if the reality is mixed across the country. Beijing, for example, is at half mast, but Hong Kong showed encouraging signals very early on, however balanced by an extremely tense social and political climate. Some luxury homes, as of May, noted a 22 percent increase in sales. The first country to be affected, China is also the first country to have contained the epidemic, which automatically gives it a head start.

On the other hand, Chinese consumers have not lost their appetite for fashion and luxury. Unable to satisfy this appetite abroad, they now buy locally. Finally the third point: young Chinese consumers, eager for innovation, buy very readily on the net. European reservations about digital purchases, beyond certain symbolic sums, do not exist in China, where those under thirty represent almost half of customers.

Luxury groups therefore intend to profit more than ever from this Chinese rebound, a key market par excellence. Recall that according to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the Chinese market will weigh by 2025, some 162 billion euros and will represent 41 percent of total sales of the sector while contributing to nearly three quarters of its global growth . And since Chinese consumers can no longer travel to Europe or the United States, it is the brands that will reach them. Between Beijing, which is slow to wake up, Hong Kong, which crumbles too much susceptibility, Shanghai - economic capital of China - appears as a natural choice for all major physical events.

One of the most important cultural districts in Asia

From September 9 to 13, Richemont, via the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie which manages the Watches & Wonders fair, will for the first time in its history install the new products of its A. Lange & brands at the West Bund Art Center in Shanghai. Söhne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Parmigiani Fleurier, Piaget, Purnell, Roger Dubuis and Vacheron Constantin. Access to this event will be by invitation only and should allow professionals but also amateurs and enthusiasts of fine watchmaking - media, retailers and customers - to participate.

LVMH is also planning a visit to the city. On August 6, the Louis Vuitton men's spring-summer 2021 fashion show will be unveiled in Shanghai as part of the group's 'Message in a Bottle' show.

Meanwhile, Parisian house Christian Dior has announced that from July 28 to October 4, it will hold its 'Designer of Dreams' exhibition at the Long Museum West Bund. 250 haute couture dresses will be presented there, accompanied by illustrations by René Gruau, Christian Bérard or even works by prestigious Chinese artists.

At the same place last year, Chanel presented the Mademoiselle Privé exhibition. It is not by chance: it is a gigantic exhibition hall located in the south of the city on the banks of the river, very easy to access. This hall, whose main hall served as a hangar at the old Longhua airport, was rehabilitated by the Xuhui district government in the wake of the 2010 World Expo. It is now one of the most attractive epicenters in the world. contemporary art of the city and aims to become one of the most important cultural districts in Asia. Validated by luxury brands, this ambition should become a reality very soon.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.FR, translated and edited to English.

Photo credit: Christian Dior

West Bund Art Center