SHANGHAI - Couturissimo, the one-year-old brand backed by the Asian Couture Federation [ACF] and charged with a mission to democratize couture, formally introduced itself to Chinese consumers Friday with the launch of a pop-up store.The week-long pop-up in Huaihai Road's K11 Mall is designed to allow consumers an opportunity to get up close and personal with Couturissimo's current season garments, which are normally available via the brand's online platform but are also increasingly appearing at trunk shows, as well as boutique-in-boutique and pop-up concepts around Asia and the rest of the world.According to the brand's founder, Dr. Frank Cintamani, who is also founding president of the Asian Couture Federation, Couturissimo is looking to an online-to-offline strategy in order to attract a wider customer base. As well as K11, the brand is working with Lane Crawford in China and is also in talks with Harrods and Selfridges in London."For quite a while people have been debating what is better, offline or online. I think the answer is to have both positions, in an intelligent manner. I think brick and mortar has been challenged quite dramatically, so for us not to have to go straight into only standalone boutique, but working with retail partners who will give us space without us having to build our own boutique," Cintamani said.Couturissimo's price point sits between $300 and $1,000, a far cry from the many thousands of dollars normally commanded by couture designers for each garment.ACF members, including Dubai-based Filipino designer Michael Cinco and Indonesian designer Sebastian Gunawan, have already collaborated on collections for Couturissimo, alongside creative directors Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov, from the Parisian couture label On Aura Tout Vu. According to Cintamani, the plan is to continue to have ACF members collaborate with Couturissimo as a stepping stone into the ready-to-wear world."For our couture designers the [Asian Couture] Federation wants to mitigate the risks. You don’t have to invest so much money into ready-to-wear, trying to figure out your distribution system, PR, manufacturing, social media and so on. We are taking all the worries away from them and asking them to do what they do best – design,"Cintamani said."We are asking them to translate these couture pieces so they are more consumable, more practical, and something we can manufacture en masse."The brand is slated to open London Fashion Week in September with a show at Kensington Palace and, as part of the launch event in Shanghai, several looks from Couturissimo's upcoming collection were previewed. As with previous collections, the focus was on femininity, with elements such as embroidered lace and a liberal use of crystal beading.On hand to welcome the brand to China were creative directors Stoianova and Samouilov, as well as ACF China committee member Jack Cao, chief executive officer of Guo Pei's Rose Studio Fashion Co. and the acclaimed Chinese couturier's husband.
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