LOS ANGELES — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be in Beijing this week with four designers — Max Azria, Kevan Hall, Louis Verdad and Chan Luu — as part of a trade mission to strengthen ties between the state and China.
The two-day Made in California Expo is intended to showcase the state's exports to China — from wine and music to technology and fashion.
For Azria, who has four freestanding and six in-store BCBG Max Azria boutiques in China ranging from 460 to 1,100 square feet, the expo represents "two of the most important things in my business life: California and China. Both are a big part of my business today in terms of retail and manufacturing."
Like the other designers, this will be Azria's first runway presentation in China.
With the theme a "Tribute to Hollywood Style," organizers note the designers were chosen for their red carpet placements.
The Nov. 16 fashion show is being billed as the centerpiece of the expo. In a nod to uniting the two markets, the runway will also showcase China-based designers Yan Deliang, Li Xiaoyan, Wu Haiyan, Gao Jianming and Chen Hong. Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, will attend, along with guests from business, government and the fashion industry. American and Chinese models will walk the show to be staged at the Kerry Centre Hotel.
In between fittings and receptions, Hall is looking to networking with retailers and manufacturers. On his last trip to Beijing he connected with his cashmere maker. Now his sights are set on the growing consumer base.
For Luu, a jewelry and accessories designer who launched her ready-to-wear line at Los Angeles Fashion Week last month, the opportunity is less about expanding sales into the Chinese market than the marketing it brings.