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Prada Sets Fashion Show for Beijing

The brand is making a statement in the rapidly expanding Asia-Pacific market.

Prada is making a statement in the rapidly expanding Asia-Pacific market with plans to stage a fashion show in Beijing on Jan. 22.

This story first appeared in the December 22, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The region has become increasingly relevant for the Italian luxury goods firm, showing a 51 percent surge in revenues in the first nine months of this year.

Designer Miuccia Prada will revisit her spring collection for the Beijing runway show and incorporate a series of new items created especially for the event. Patrizio Bertelli, chief executive officer of the company and Miuccia Prada’s husband, is also expected to attend.

Given the performance of Prada in the Asia-Pacific region, speculation has been mounting that the brand might be mulling a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Carlo Mazzi, Prada’s vice president, said last month that “when you have to raise funds, you look around and you go and raise them where the offer is more attractive. Money has no country. Where there is a larger availability of money, that’s where we will go and collect money, but we will use it in Italy.”

Mazzi, however, said no decision has been made on the location of an offering. After canceling plans for an IPO several times over the past few years, Prada is exploring a listing in order to capitalize on its surging profits and sales. Prada has said the IPO will likely take place in the second half of next year, depending on market conditions.

“China is the country that is developing at the quickest pace compared to the rest of the world,” a company spokesman said, adding that “major events” are planned in the Asia-Pacific area in 2011. The company intends to open 17 stores in China next year and another 11 in 2012.

In the nine months ended Oct. 31, Prada reported net profits spiked 205.8 percent to 156 million euros, or $206 million, compared with 51 million euros, or $69.3 million, in the same period last year.

Dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.

In the year-to-date period, the group’s global sales grew 31 percent to 1.38 billion euros, or $1.82 billion. Retail sales gained 44 percent, or 23 percent on a like-for-like basis, while wholesale sales rose 9 percent.

Prada follows other Italian fashion brands that have been staging high-profile events and shows in China and other parts of Asia.

In October, Tod’s introduced the iconic Italian opera house La Scala to China as part of its partnership with Milan’s prestigious theater. Diego Della Valle, the company’s chairman and ceo, threw an exclusive cocktail and dinner party in Beijing, followed by a special pas de deux performed by prima ballerina Sabrina Brazzo and lead dancer Marco Messina.

In July, Ermenegildo Zegna marked its centennial celebration with a fashion show and a party in Shanghai, and in June, Salvatore Ferragamo held a show in Hong Kong at the Bank of China Tower.

Three years ago, Karl Lagerfeld and Fendi staged a sunset show on the Great Wall of China just outside Beijing, followed in November 2008 by Donatella Versace, who held a fashion show, followed by an auction and a dinner in Beijing, to raise funds for the Versace/One Foundation.