Luxury retail in China has moved away from gaudy designs and to more streamlined, simple, and elegant styles that reflect the growing sophistication of some Chinese consumers. Céline, a high-end retailer, is doing everything it can to cater to its Chinese clients changing demands.
Chief executive of Céline, Marco Gobbetti, says that the brand isn’t proposing to open new stores in China anytime soon. Rather they are working on perfecting their existing 20 shops. Gobbetti told Women’s Wear Daily that these plans include a spruce up of their Shanghai location in Plaza 66.
Gobbetti’s approach to renovation is a unique one. The brand had 135 stores when Gobbetti stepped in as chief executive, but now has only 90. He says that this is in response to the competitive nature of the luxury market, and the high cost of holding on to prime locations.
While some companies may believe that more locations means more business, Gobbetti believes that maintaining fewer stores and accommodating a specific group of consumers will be enough for Céline to continue thriving.
“The educated classes are moving status, now they are researching what suits them. Even in China, you don’t need to please everybody,” he said.
Since the addition of Gobbetti, as well as creative director Phoebe Philo, in 2008, Céline’s global sales have tripled and their presence in China has grown considerably.
Gobbetti predicts that in the coming years consumers will begin to look for timeless pieces that can transition throughout the seasons and plans for Céline to satisfy such desires. “It’s a way to respond to a customer that’s been evolving and growing. A few years back they were just approaching the market, and now they are the real experts,” Gobbetti said.
In order to celebrate Céline’s triumph in China, the brand hosted it’s first Chinese runway show on Thursday, May 22, in Beijing’s art district.
Most of the items presented were similar to Céline’s Paris runway show, but a few clothing and accessories appear to be new additions. Chinese celebrities were present including Faye Wong, who sat in the front row with a gray Celine overcoat, reports Spotted Fashion.
Here are some images and video from the event:
image credit: celine