URBAN LANDSCAPES: Galeries Lafayette, tuned in to the growing importance of consumers from China, unveiled displays by Chinese artist Song Xiewei in the windows lining its Paris flagship to kick off the Chinese New Year, which begins Friday.
Executives from the French department store and the Chinese ambassador to France lined up to cut the red ribbon for the displays along the Boulevard Haussmann to reveal hanging stretches of embroidered, fabric-covered sculptures depicting the mountain forms painted by the 12th-century landscape master Wang Ximeng. The dreamy, cloudlike pieces of various elongated shapes represented the Song dynasty painting “A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains.”
The store is offering special Spring Festival products geared to Chinese customers through March 4, including a Swatch Woof watch and limited edition of Panerai watches covered with a dog engraving. Packets of red, hand-engraved cards from Smythson will be offered for purchases above 250 euros.
After the ribbon-cutting, the Chinese delegation, which included officials from the country’s state-owned Arts and Entertainment Group, and French executives moved upstairs to an intimate cocktail event in the Angelina café tucked behind the luxury fashion labels on a higher floor of the store. Decorated with red carpet, red lanterns and flickering fake candles, guests sipped Champagne in front of a wall of Angelina chocolate, jam, biscuits and tubes of chestnut spread.
Galeries Lafayette last year opened a store dedicated to Chinese tourists across the street from the Haussmann flagship, with services including tax refunds and private rooms for hosting groups of visitors. The department store plans to unveil a flagship in Shanghai later this year, with the aim of opening a dozen stores in some of the country’s largest cities by 2025.