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Love affair with Italian and French designers in China still going strong

Although many Asian designers were highlighted in the recent Hong Kong and China fashion weeks, it's obvious that French and Italian designs are still the heartthrobs

Ahram Online, Saturday 21 Apr 2012
Pierre Cardin, Palais Lumiere City of Light
fashion show at Water Cube in Beijing (AP Photo Ng Han Guan)

The Vice Presidents of both the China Fashion Association and National Garment Association, spoke at Mercedes-Benz fashion week in China on political ties through fashion, highlighting that the Chinese market continues to increase its demand for Italian brands.

Big brands make sure to make a big show of their presence in China.

The Louis Vuitton flagship store, for one, will celebrate its 20th anniversary in China with a grand re-opening after a year's worth of remodelling.

Burberry hosted a world first holographic fashion show streaming it live in all their stores around the world.

In February Prada got none other than the Pet Shop Boys in Beijing to rerun their Spring Summer fashion show. Months later they took over four storeys at a Hyatt Hotel for a fashion show and after party.

Bulgari, Chanel, DVF, Louis Vuitton and Zegna have all made extra efforts to reinforce their history by displaying retrospective exhibitions.

Versace and Marni are also in the loop.

A typical scenario is that a brand goes to China either to have their goods manufactured there, or to expand their market, since many from China’s large and growing population quickly entered middle and upper incomes. Modessa is a prime example, whose Lebanese designers have their operations and stores in China.

"China's been the clothing factory of the world for some time," said Chinese designer Qi Gang, whose creations featured bright colours, sequins, fur and feathers.

"But as our economy develops, we are also becoming a country of famous brands, big brands. This trend is unstoppable," he told Reuters TV.

In a funny twist, however, Chinese brand She Ji Sorgere seems to find the comfort and prestige of Italian tailoring more appealing and expressly has their clothes made there. Their name reflects their intentions: She ji meaning “nation” in Chinese and Sorgere “born” in Italian. Caruso, a luxury menswear manufacturer is their link in Italy.

She Ji Sorgere first revealed their collection during the Peking Fashion Week.

The concept behind She Ji Sorgere proves how much Italian and French designers and tailoring are appreciated in Asia.

Pierre Cardin, who is already quite established in China with multiple licenses sold there, opened a fashion show in late March to bring publicity to a huge project planned near Venice and possibly re-created in China.

His 240-metre-high "Light Palace" will be made up of three glass towers rising 780 feet high, linked by six giant discs visible from the outside. The premises will include gardens, lakes, swimming pools, ten restaurants, 1,500 apartments, cinemas, conference rooms, theatres, stores, a helicopter landing pad and a university, according to Mr Cardin himself.

Obsessed with he gargantuan project under the designers’ name, he expertly manipulated light in one of his designs (see hat in photo gallery above) and just for fun designed futuristic fluorescent lighting dresses.

The obsession seems mutual between French and Italian design houses on the one side and Asia on the other.


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