NEW YORK — Vera Wang has abolished appointment fees at her bridal salons worldwide after the practice sparked an Internet controversy in China.
Wang’s local partner had instituted a fee of 3,000 yuan, or $482 at current exchange, to try on wedding gowns at her new Shanghai bridal flagship. The fee included afternoon tea and a meeting with a consultant, along with a 90-minute fitting session. According to a Shanghai store staff member, this is usually enough time for a customer to try on eight to 10 gowns.
The decision to implement the fee generated a flood of comments on Sina Weibo, as many as 2,000 earlier this week. The comments came even though some other bridal salons in China charge similar fees.
“Upon careful investigation and review of the policies of our international operators, we will be abolishing appointment fees in all of our stores,” Vera Wang said Tuesday. “We wish for all Vera Wang customers to enjoy the same standard of excellence worldwide. Treating our customers in a fair and equitable way remains a priority. The store in Shanghai has only been open to private VIP preview appointments. The official opening to the public will take place on April 29.”
The Shanghai flagship, which had a soft opening earlier this year, takes up two floors of prime real estate in the upmarket Xintiandi development and has about 80 dresses on display, priced between 30,000 yuan and 300,000 yuan, or $4,827 to $48,270.
Lovisa Tedesteadt, owner of Lova Weddings in Shanghai, said, “I am in shock. I don’t know of a single boutique in China that has this fee. I visited the Vera Wang boutique in Xintiandi weeks ago....We were allowed to look at the 25 or 30 dresses displayed on the first floor, but the sales assistant confirmed customers have to pay a 3,000 renminbi [$482.95] fee to try on the dresses upstairs.”
Jenny Ji, a Shanghai-based designer with a high-end bridal line, said that while she generally makes made-to-order wedding gowns, she has sample dresses in her studio customers are welcome to try on for free.
Newly-married resident Jing Yuan, 27, was surprised to hear about the pay-to-try policy for Shanghai customers, calling it “irrational. Of course this is too much, normally to buy a quality wedding dress from a good brand in Shanghai is 3,000 [yuan]. I have never heard of another designer brand doing this,” Yuan said.
A staff member at Vera Wang’s Shanghai store justified the fee before it was abolished. “A lot of high school and college students were coming here and weren’t serious about buying a wedding dress so that’s why we started the fitting fee,” the staffer said. “We just wanted to make sure we were serving the right customers, and the [fee] is then redeemable off the purchase price of any gown.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast