Now, a little more than a month later, plans are much more concrete and it’s clear that Wang’s strategy is to open boutiques as quickly as possible in almost every market across the region.
“It is important to capture the region all at once,” said Grauso who was here over the weekend as part of a two-week trip that included stops in Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taipei and Singapore. “I don’t think we want to be fragmented. We want to enter with a bigger presence in Asia, so it was a concerted effort to open a few stores at once. The Asian consumer is constantly traveling, so I wanted her to see a store in Seoul, a store in Shanghai.”
Wang will open its first space in Tokyo in June, which will be a flagship boutique on the ground floor of a bridal store in the Ginza shopping district that is being developed by Hatsuko Endo, one of Japan’s top bridal companies and also Wang’s partner in the market. By July, Wang will have a similar space in a bridal store that is now under construction in Seoul. This month, the company is also opening stores in Moscow and Sydney. In July, it will open in Kuwait.
Grauso said the brand is close to signing a deal with a partner for its operations in Mainland China and Hong Kong. A space in Shanghai will likely open before the summer. Stores in Hong Kong and Singapore will be open by the fall, he said.
Wang’s bridal collections will be the initial emphasis in Asia, with other product categories possibly introduced later based on consumer demand.
“Clearly when you get to Asia, Vera is most known for her bridal,” Grauso said. “So we feel it is safest and easiest for us to lead with bridal.”
The timing for entering Asia stems partly from the fact that Wang has developed and rolled out its own retail concept in a number of cities across America that executives now say they feel can be easily exported to other markets.
“We feel strongly as a company that bridal not sit in environments that are not our environments,” Grauso said. “We have always been very hesitant to allow people to carry our bridal here [in Asia] because we have not been able to build environments. That is really why we have not entered Asia properly. I don’t think we had a concept as strong as we do today.”
The other reason for entering the region is that couples are spending more money than ever on elaborate weddings. “The emphasis on wedding is so strong here,” Grauso said. “So we feel really good about it.”
It is clear that Wang’s emphasis in the region will be in the Chinese market where millions of couples spend billions of dollars annually on elaborate weddings, which are used as vehicles to display a family’s wealth and social status.
There are talks for Wang to have her own television show on the mainland, in which Grauso said the designer would leverage her Chinese roots to connect with local consumers. Chinese model Shu Pei has been the face of several Wang campaigns.
“Vera is Chinese, so I think she can probably relate to this consumer more than anywhere other than the U.S.,” Grauso said. “Culturally, she really understands the Chinese, so I am not too worried. I would be nervous to enter simply with bridal if Vera weren’t Chinese.”
With the exception of red wedding gowns, Grauso said product selection and pricing will remain the same as in other markets. There are no immediate plans to sell lower-priced gowns such as the Wang designs that are available in the more mass market David’s Bridal in the U.S. There are also no plans to rent out wedding gowns, which is a common practice in China.
“We would like to stay aspirational,” Grauso said.
@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)