SHANGHAI — Malls across this city of 20 million were buzzing with shoppers on Friday afternoon, indicating that so far consumer confidence has not been shaken by an outbreak of a rare strain of bird flu that has claimed six lives over the past week.
Fourteen people have been infected with the H7N9 avian flu virus since Sunday, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. Six cases were in Shanghai while others who tested positive for the virus were in neighboring Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces. There is no evidence so far of human-to-human transmission.
Shanghai authorities ordered the slaughter of thousands of birds for sale in markets in the city on Friday after finding pigeons that tested positive for the disease. Agricultural markets in the city have also been closed, Xinhua reported.
The United States Consulate in Shanghai is “monitoring the situation very closely,” spokeswoman Wylita Bell said. “We are working very closely with our counterparts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Beijing and Shanghai municipal governments.”
Salespeople working at the Juicy Couture and Armani Exchange stores located in Grand Gateway 66, a mall located in Xuhui District, said that business had been normal. Similarly, employees in Christian Dior, Céline and Prada boutiques in Plaza 66, a mall in central Shanghai, said they had not noticed any decrease in shoppers.
A small but noticeable number of residents could be seen wearing face masks on subways and other public places.
“I don’t care that much,” Yorking Wang, a 20-year-old university student shopping near Grand Gateway 66, said. “It seems very far away from me. I won’t buy chicken or pork, but I will still go to shopping malls.”
Thousands of dead pigs were found in rivers around Shanghai last month. Authorities have said there is no evidence that the deaths are connected with the avian flu outbreak.
Medical experts say the H7N9 virus does not yet appear to be serious. “The speed of the spreading of the virus is not that rapid,” Chen Lei, a physician at Parkway Health medical center in Shanghai, said. “But you need to be careful because you never know. Any flu virus can mutate very quickly and can become very vicious. But that has not happened at this point.”
Still, in a region accustomed to epidemics, a number of precautions are being taken. Vietnam has banned Chinese poultry imports, while airports in Japan and Hong Kong are warning passengers to seek medical help if they have flulike symptoms.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, erupted in China in 2003, infecting thousands and resulting in billions of dollars in economic losses across Asia. Tourism, entertainment and other service-related industries were the hardest hit. In April 2003, retail sales in Hong Kong dropped 15.2 percent from the previous year, according to research from the University of Hong Kong.
Markets are reacting to the H7N9 outbreak. The STOXX Europe 600 Travel and Leisure index fell up to 3.72 percent on Friday, indicating investor fears that a possible pandemic could impact the sector. Hong Kong stocks closed 2.73 percent lower on Friday.
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)