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.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)