“It’s not a brand we bought for the Chinese. We bought it for its Chinese DNA,” Alexis Babeau, managing director of PPR’s luxury division, said Monday during a conference call to discuss the Qeelin purchase, disclosed late Sunday.
While financial terms were not disclosed, Babeau trumpeted “enormous” potential for the brand, known for contemporary interpretations of auspicious Chinese symbols such as pandas, wulu fruit, porcelain vases and lotus flowers.
He said PPR intends to multiply the size of the company, leveraging its experience in company-owned retail and online selling. Although he declined to give details about the rollout plan, sources said Qeelin principals spy potential in the long term for up to 100 locations in Greater China.
Chairman and creative director Dennis Chan and Frenchman Guillaume Brochard, chief executive officer, remain in their respective roles and retain minority stakes in the business they launched in 2004 with a boutique in Hong Kong’s IFC mall and with fashion plate Maggie Cheung, Chan’s muse, wearing its earrings while scooping up the best-actress prize at that year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Qeelin today operates 14 boutiques — seven in Mainland China, four in Hong Kong and three in Europe — plus sells its collections through wholesale accounts such as Colette in Paris and Restir in Tokyo.
While Asia generates about three-quarters of Qeelin’s revenues, Babeau noted that its jewelry has developed a local following in European markets including the U.K., where there are shops-in-shop in Selfridges and Harrods.
Qeelin produces fine jewelry, accessories and watches using gold, platinum, diamonds, sapphires, rubies and jade. Retail prices start at 2,000 euros, average 4,000 euros, and top out at about 30,000 euros (or $2,585, $5,170 and $38,775, respectively, at current exchange).
Babeau described a vibrant market for fine jewelry in China, and characterized Qeelin as “among the most luxurious” of homegrown brands. Its celebrity devotees are said to include Katy Perry, Kate Winslet, Marc Jacobs and Mischa Barton.
The Queelin acquisition beefs up PPR’s holdings in hard luxury, which include the Place Vendôme jeweler Boucheron and watch brands Girard-Perregaux and Jean Richard. It is the French conglomerate’s first Chinese brand.
PPR chairman and ceo François-Henri Pinault has said he spies massive potential for fashion and accessories as demographics and economic development promise to deliver some 3 billion young and affluent consumers from such emerging nations as China, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil and Russia.
China is now the second largest apparel market in the world behind the U.S., with a compound annual growth rate of 11.8 percent over the last five years, and per capita spend on apparel growing at 11.3 percent despite the global recession, according to a Bernstein Research report released Monday.
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)
@denimdaysfestival, which initially launched in Amsterdam in 2014 and has since expanded to New York, is heading to Nashville for the very first time. The two-day festival, which will take place in November, will feature brand activations, hands-on workshops by artisans and denim mills, a vintage market, live entertainment, and local food and drinks. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Later this month, the popular “Diana: Her Fashion Story” exhibit will be reopening. @historicroyalpalaces, the charity that manages @kensingtonroyal, has been working towards adding new, never-before-seen garments to the exhibit, including this dress created by Gianni Versace for a fund-raising dinner at the Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The exhibit will reopen on April 26 at Kensington Palace @wwdfashion
“Our family has always been engaged and interested in the world around us. [My brothers and I] were always encouraged to have our own opinion at a young age, which is not always something a child is asked — especially to have an opinion with reasoning behind it,” said @yarashahidi on becoming an activist. We caught up with the 18 year old last week, where she talked about her road to acting, how “Black-ish” led her to start conversations about identity and more. Head to WWD.com to read what she had to say #wwdeye (📷: @chelsealaurenla)