In Chinese culture, there is no greater holiday than the Chinese New Year, a holiday steeped in tradition and ritual. One such ritual is putting on new clothes to symbolize a new beginning, as we usher in the old year and welcome the luck and prosperity of the new. International luxury fashion houses joined in the festivities with limited edition collections for the occasion.
It’s a new tradition in globalized fashion, as more and more luxury brands permanently mark this Chinese holiday on their calendars. At a time when representation is key, these localized drops are a big step towards inclusiveness, where China and Chinese people everywhere can feel represented by their favorite designer brands.
Of course, we must not forget that the luxury industry is a business, and a massive one, with a personal luxury goods market valued at €283 billion (approximately RM1.3 trillion) in 2021. China is undoubtedly the largest luxury market. growing market, representing 21% of the world market, second after the United States. According to a report by Bain & Company, the country is on track to become the largest luxury market by 2025, with Chinese consumers accounting for nearly half of all luxury goods spending. It’s clear that the biggest fashion brands flock to China, and its most important holiday is the perfect opportunity to woo customers from that country.
To celebrate the third animal in the zodiac, some brands have opted to merge archival designs with ever-chic tiger stripes, adding an animalistic twist to beloved classics. Fendi’s Spring Festival 2022 features prints inspired by Siberian tigers found in the northeast region of China on pieces such as its signature Baguette bag. Burberry’s celebratory capsule also has the graphic stripes embroidered on popular styles like its Lola and Olympia bags.
Perhaps the biggest stroke of luck (the Chinese are big on it) was enjoyed by Valentino. The tiger has been a house icon since it appeared as the first look in the Autumn/Winter 1967/68 Haute Couture collection, and was immortalized when German model Veruschka was photographed for vogue in a coat from the collection. This same pattern has found its way back into this year’s Lunar New Year collection.
Coach and Moschino opted to go the adorable route, the former dressing its fun mascot Rexy the dinosaur in a tiger bodysuit and putting it on bucket bags and t-shirts, and the latter tapping into nostalgia with a capsule collection featuring depicting cereal flake hero Tony the Tiger’s childhood.
However, the campaigns that resonated the most were those that made deep, emotional connections and showed cultural understanding and sensitivity, which is often underestimated by Western luxury brands with limited knowledge of the intricacies of fashion. chinese culture. Additionally, with Millennials and Gen Z consumers expected to account for approximately 70% of personal luxury sales by 2025 according to Bain & Company estimates, luxury brands will need to evolve and align with cultural, social and environmental values of this next generation of luxury consumers, generally more socially responsible.
One way to create a deeper connection with culture is to rely on local communities, as Salvatore Ferragamo did. True to its history of uniting art and culture with fashion, the brand called on Chinese artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu to create a print inspired by traditional Chinese paintings. The print, depicting the tiger playing with other wild creatures in a classic Chinese garden, will be incorporated into her accessories. This unique crossover of an Italian fashion house with Chinese talent makes for an impactful collaboration.
Bottega Veneta, on the other hand, went big, literally, this year. He took over a section of the Great Wall of China with a massive digitally projected public art installation that displayed the message “Happy New Year” in Chinese characters, followed by “Bottega Veneta” in English in the brand’s signature green mixed with a vibrant tangerine. , a symbol of good luck for the Chinese (this color was also included in its limited edition festive collection).
In addition, the Italian brand has pledged to make a donation to support the renovation and maintenance of Shanhai Pass, the easternmost bastion of the Great Wall of China. It’s a different approach that makes a powerful statement about cultural appreciation and exchange and is sure to earn a strong brand image with young consumers.
As for Prada, instead of releasing a collection inspired by the tiger, it embarked on a charity project aimed at saving animals. As part of “Action in the Year of the Tiger”, the brand is donating to the China Green Foundation’s Walking with Tiger and Leopard program to raise awareness for the protection of wildlife and biodiversity in China.
He also organizes an art project, inviting students from art schools around the world to create works of art with their own interpretation of the tiger. Entries will be judged by a jury made up of Chinese artists Liu Ye and Lu Yang, and the selected pieces will be used in other campaigns to come in 2022. These activities place cultural and social relevance at the forefront, highlighting the dedication of Prada to cultural integrity.
Probably the hottest collection comes from Gucci, one of the most popular brands in China. The brand is paving the way to become a luxury fashion house that is also a catalyst for cultural, social and environmental change. The capsule is a staggering collection of 83 pieces of ready-to-wear and accessories for men and women. It features a new print, a reinterpretation of a 1960s Flora print by Vittorio Accornero that places the tiger on a pastel palette and lush background, borrowed from traditional Chinese art. Additionally, the words “Gucci Tiger” in a collegiate typeface cover pieces ranging from graphic sweatshirts to wallets.
The collection is featured in an elaborate campaign featuring real tigers (which were photographed separately, with animal welfare organization American Humane monitoring the set), adding even more significance to this thoughtful and dedicated collection. Finally, Gucci continues to make donations to the Lion’s Share Fund as it has done since the beginning of 2020; the program aims to protect endangered species and conserve their natural habitats.
It seems like we’re spoiled for choice this Year of the Tiger, and these special localized collections of luxury brands grow every year, with initiatives becoming more culturally conscious and socially driven. Now this is an auspicious start to the Chinese New Year.
This article was first published on January 24, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.