During an exclusive interview in the three-story space, which is virtually an exact replica of the brand’s store on 121 Regent Street in London, Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s chief creative officer and chief executive officer designate, said the brand chose Shanghai for its next big event because it has been underrepresented in the city. In the past year or so, Burberry has closed some existing locations and opened four new retail spaces in Shanghai.
“We did not feel we were represented in the right way in Shanghai,” Bailey told WWD. “We found some great real estate. The openings happened to be consecutive but we wanted to make a bold statement in Shanghai and build something that really reflected the totality of the brand.”
Of Burberry’s 25 global flagships, five are in China. The brand bought back its business on the Mainland from its franchise partner in 2010. Burberry is in a total of 36 cities in China, including a flagship in Beijing that was opened in 2011.
Bailey declined to speak about his upcoming role as Burberry’s ceo. He will succeed Angela Ahrendts, who is joining Apple Inc.
While Bailey declined to disclose sales figures in China, he said the country continues to be “an incredibly strong market” for the brand.
“We see an appetite for a consumer loving what we stand for in terms of heritage and history,” he said. “Something that has traditional roots, yet something that is moving forward. We reflect what is happening here. There is a strong history in China, but it is moving forward very fast. That reflects our DNA. There is a natural symmetry with our brand and what is happening in China.”
Bailey said that even though he comes to China once or twice a year, he is still amazed by the pace of change. “People now want to know the details behind our products,” he said. “That kind of interest behind the product is important here — a familiarity that is stable but not stuck in the past. That is moving forward. We are finding that really resonates. Something kind of old and also something new.”
In the digital space, Burberry arguably continued to push digital boundaries — and cover all of its bases in the Chinese online digital space. The brand worked with Tencent Holdings Ltd., owner of WeChat, a mobile app similar to Whatsapp, to create customized content for the show. Followers of Burberry’s brand page on WeChat (Weixin in Chinese) could vie for free tickets to the event, engage with an interactive digital experience before the fashion show and have access to footage from the show.
The show Thursday night comes three years since Burberry held its last event in China. That event, in Beijing, was digitally immersive, emotive and, above all, memorable. Guests stood in a pitch-black space, surrounded by holograms of London and the different seasons that encompass the city. Music from Adele played while models showcased Burberry’s classic and more contemporary collections. It was Burberry in the 21st century. And the brand chose to showcase that in China, arguably the home of the most digitally connected consumers on earth.
On Thursday night in Shanghai, Burberry topped that show with something akin to a Broadway production. The Shanghai event was staged at an old shipyard next to the Huangpu, a river that, like the Thames, cuts through the heart of this city of more than 20 million. The inside of the space transformed into a standing-room-only theater. Arguably a bit Broadway kitsch, Act 1 of Burberry’s Shanghai debut started out with a musical ensemble of male models dancing in classic trenches and black suits with iconic Burberry umbrellas, followed by a female dance ensemble, also in the signature trenches, that reminded one of “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
There was then an act of purely digital advertising of lipstick, blush and other cosmetics projected on walls surrounding attendees (Burberry recently took its cosmetic business in-house instead of using a third party for its beauty lines). But it was the finale that made for another event that likely will be remembered until the next one. Holograms of the changing seasons of the London skyline blended with the ultramodern skyline of Shanghai while models showcased Burberry Prorsum’s fall collection, “Bloomsbury Girls,” alongside a live performance from British singer-songwriter Paloma Faith. Other musical artists included British musicians Ed Harcourt and George Ezra.
VIPs included Chinese actress Carina Lau, Chinese model and actress Angelababy and Chinese model Du Juan.
The show concluded with British model and actress Cara Delevingne flying above the audience — like a Burberry-clad Mary Poppins.
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)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)