PARIS — In a gesture sure to be burnish the image of its luxury brands in a crucial market, France's Pinault family, which controls Kering, has donated to China two rare animal sculptures from the Qing dynasty.
Once owned by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent, the rat and rabbit bronze fountainheads were shrouded in controversy when Bergé put them on the block in 2009 as part of blockbuster auction that fetched 373.5 million euros, or $484.6 million at then exchange rates.
At the time, Christie’s fended off court action that sought to prevent it from selling the two works, part of a sale of 700 pieces of art belonging to Bergé and the late couturier. The Association for the Protection of the Arts of China in Europe (APACE) had argued the heads, among 12 taken from the Summer Palace of the Emperor Qianlong in Beijing during the Opium Wars, should be returned to China.
The heads sold to anonymous telephone bidders for 15.7 million euros, or $20 million, each.
In a statement, the Pinault family said it "went to great efforts to retrieve these two significant treasures of China and strongly believe they belong in their rightful home."
"The forward-looking vision of China’s new leadership outlines a harmonious co-operation and co-existence with other communities around the world and this has inspired us to take part in contributing to the development of art and culture and the preservation of cultural heritage in China," said François-Henri Pinault, Kering's chairman and chief executive officer.
He noted the Pinaults would work closely with China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage to "finalize the time as early as possible to house these national treasures. The family would like to acknowledge Christie’s role in facilitating this return."
Christie's is also controlled by the Pinault family.
Formerly known as PPR, Kering has a strong presence in China and relies on Chinese clients for its various luxury and sport/lifestyle businesses.
Reporting first-quarter revenues last week, Kering noted that the Asia Pacific region accounted for 38 percent of Gucci's sales, 42 percent of Bottega Veneta's, 20 percent of Yves Saint Laurent's and 13 percent of Puma's.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)