SHANGHAI — In China’s biggest city for the opening of a new flagship, Sir Paul Smith was upbeat about the prospects for his brand here.
The, 5,000-square-foot Shanghai flagship is located over two floors of street-front real estate in the Jing’an Kerry Center on shopping street Nanjing West Road. It’s the seventh Paul Smith store to open on the Mainland in the past two years with an eighth — in Beijing — set to open in November.
“So far, so good,” said Smith, of the brand’s business in China generally, and the Shanghai flagship, which opened in November.
“We’re always in the top three here [at Jing’an Kerry Center], and that’s fantastic because there’s some pretty big players here. We’re about 20 percent up generally, on sales, across China.”
The company’s founder, designer and majority owner said younger consumers who have been educated, or traveled extensively overseas, have embraced the brand and helped spread the word on the Mainland. “They come back with the clothes they’ve bought [in Europe or the U.S.]. Obviously with the Internet and just travel generally, the men’s market has just changed massively,” he said.
Smith, like many before him, sees China as a huge potential market, but sees Paul Smith’s place within it remaining niche, an option for younger consumers trying to break the logo driven mold of luxury consumption in China.
“Of course there’s still a lot of uniformity, because there’s a lot of people here, that’s inevitable, but there are really strong pockets of creative dressing,” Smith said. “I think there’s a huge danger for the big brands in having too many shops here, but also being spread too thin. Now there is definitely a trend where certain young people reject [the focus on labels], and we are lucky enough to be one of the brands they are now more attracted to, because we are more anonymous.”
According to Alice Wong, executive director of Paul Smith’s Hong Kong-based distribution partner, ImagineX Group, Chinese consumers have embraced the boldest of the brand’s designs, showing an unanticipated appetite for color and pattern. Chinese consumers appreciate the runway line, while much of the rest of the world goes more for the suits in the London line or the PS casuals, she said.
“If you look at the last two seasons, the runway line has been very colorful. Last season, there was a print that was very floral and rosy, and that was received very well by male customers [in Beijing],” she said.
This desire for individuality has been a major key for the success of a brand entering the Chinese market for the second time. Paul Smith first made a run at the Mainland China market in 2002, before retreating to regroup five years later after undisclosed losses.
“I’ve always enjoyed just individuality and that’s my main point and actually, eight or 10 years ago, that was a problem….People wanted logos, or a very distinctive piece that was backed with an advertising campaign, and I wouldn’t do that,” Smith said. “Things have changed and I think China’s gone fast and it’s because of the world of technology. It’s not hurt us at all, and it’s a way for people to see what I do.”
@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)