Prada staged its first ever fashion show outside Europe with a showing of its Spring 2011 collection in Beijing this past Saturday at the Central Academy of Fine Arts museum.
Prada flew in some of its favorite models — Arizona, Kinga, Zuzana — for the Beijing event, but Asian models like Liu Wen, Sun Fei Fei, Du Juan, and Emma Pei were clearly in the mix.
The fashion show brought out some high wattage celebrities like actresses Gong Li, Cecilia Cheung, and Maggie Cheung, and Beijing’s elite — certain to score tons of media coverage.
Prada included some new items designed for the event, but their Spring 2011 collection of simple-cut dresses and bold colored stripes and solids was essentially a re-show. Yet, the fact that Prada came East with a show underscored the importance of the Chinese luxury market for Prada.
“China has become a place where not only luxury brands do local brand-building events; China is now front and center in luxury brands’ global marketing campaigns,” Bruno Lannes, a Shanghai-based partner at Bain, told AFP.
Prada’s China sales jumped a whopping 51% in the first nine months of 2010 and the luxury label is the ninth most desired brand in China according to Bain’s recent research.
“Prada stands for good taste and individuality. That shows that Chinese consumers are becoming more sophisticated,” said Zhou Ting, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics of China.
With 15 stores in China, Prada plans to open 30 more by the end of 2012 and launch a design studio in Hong Kong this year.
Despite what feels like an invasion of foreign luxury brands in China given recent activities, experts indicated that “foreign firms have only scratched the surface of the market’s vast potential, which is based on the country’s population of 1.3 billion and the mounting wealth of an ever-growing middle class.”
“About 90 percent of Chinese buyers are newcomers to a brand, while the rest are repeat customers. It is still a very underpenetrated market,” HSBC analyst Erwan Rambourg told AFP.
photo credit: prada