HONG KONG — Chow Tai Fook's latest collection of exclusive fine jewelry is making the rounds in China.
China's largest jeweler kicked off its first champagne-fueled VIP shopping event of the year with a Milan-themed fashion show Friday night at the Grand Hyatt hotel. The collection will make two more stops in Suzhou and Xi’an, before the jeweler auctions off the goods in May.
The collection of 140 special pieces featured lots of colored precious stones, a new area of focus for the company that is best known for its gold products. Precious stones have higher profit margins and are also seeing more fast-growing sales by younger and more affluent customers.
“There’s more demand in precious stones. Our clients are getting younger and they are more sophisticated. So they want something more art couture and something very different and unique. So the design and craftsmanship and use of precious metals are changing,” Adrian Cheng, executive director at Chow Tai Fook Jewellery and a member of the family that controls the company.
Cheng said the special collection, designed in-house, strives to integrate romance with wilderness. Some of the necklaces feature clusters of precious stones such as opals, tourmaline, diamonds integrated with more traditional materials such as jade or gold in intricate patterns.
Chow Tai Fook will be flying in its top echelon of VIP customers from southern, northern and eastern China to Suzhou and top customers from western and central China to Xi’an to view the collection, explained Alan Chan, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery’s director of group branding. The jeweler will also be flying in some of its best VIP customers to Paris during the city's fashion week for “cultural exchange” events bringing together fashion designers, jewelry, and artists to showcase the latest trends from China to international media and buyers.
Chow Tai Fook has been revamping its VIP program to better cater to its most affluent customers. VIP sales now account for about 30 percent of overall revenue, but are expected to grow to 40 to 50 percent within a few years.
The company doubled the entry-level threshold to VIP status to 200,000 Hong Kong dollars, or $25,786 at current exchange, worth of purchases in a year and will roll out a revamped program in mainland China later this year. The company says it now has 1 million VIP customers in China. Customers are divided into three echelons; the top group spends at least 1 million Hong Kong dollars, or $128,394, a year.
Chow Tai Fook held first VIP auction in 2011 in Beijing and held one last year in Hong Kong. Last year’s auction was a big success, said Chan, noting that the company sold out all of 19 pieces. The highest bid was for 7 million Hong Kong dollars, or $902,900 at current exchange rates, for a diamond necklace.
The company expects attendance of about 100 to 200 at each event. In addition to Chow Tai Fook’s VIP customers, there will also be wealthy clients from affiliated companies such as New World Development, a Cheng family-controlled property and mall developer, as well as Ferrari and Red Valentino. The Cheng family owns companies that distribute the two brands in parts of China.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)