SHANGHAI — Alibaba’s Tmall Collection show, an eight-hour marathon of singing, dancing, fashion shows and, of course, shopping, is back for a second year.
Though the see-now-buy-now show was held Friday in Shanghai, people won’t actually be able to see or buy anything until it is broadcast. The show will be simulcast on Alibaba’s own platforms as well as television and online video site partners on Oct. 31st. On that date consumers will be able to click through to Alibaba’s platforms from the show to buy or pre-order the products and brands promoted.
The Tmall Collection show, with its focus on international brand partners and higher-end products, is part of Alibaba’s continued effort to improve its fashion and luxury credentials and also help higher-end brands feel more at ease with the heavy discounting traditionally required to be a part of Singles’ Day, known in China as the Double 11 festival, the largest online sales event on earth.
“Before two years ago, luxury brands would refuse [to be part of Double 11]. I think last year luxury brands began to accept because they want young consumers and young consumers are accustomed to shopping using this platform,” Tmall Fashion president Jessica Liu said on the sidelines of the show, adding that Tmall’s concerted effort to court luxury brands by offering specialized platforms had also helped bring them to the table.
This year’s Tmall Collection participants include Guerlain, Adidas, Pandora, Ray-Ban, Estée Lauder, Victoria’s Secret, Rimowa, Polo Ralph Lauren, SMCP and Furla — each of which hosted a catwalk show or a combination of show and performance from a Chinese celebrity who is also a brand ambassador.
“As a smaller designer it’s difficult to get into the Chinese market in a meaningful way. It’s the first time I am seeing the potential and the energy there is for fashion here in the streets and the stores. It feels to me similar to how New York felt like when I moved there in 2001, there was a joy and energy for fashion and I see that here now,” said Robert Geller.
“For me it’s a great introduction to the Chinese market to be introduced in such a huge way. It’s such a huge audience. It’s the best possible platform, it has such an amazing reach.”
For Opening Ceremony’s Carol Lim — who is no stranger to the China market due to her role at Kenzo, as well as Opening Ceremony’s wholesale business in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong — the advantage of working with Tmall similarly comes down to reach.
“We’ve always thought of [Opening Ceremony] as a global brand and being able to partner with Tmall, one of the biggest platforms, means we can speak to a larger audience, so it’s exciting to speak to a group of people we wouldn’t usually be able to reach,” Lim said.
This year, there was also more focus on China’s up-and-coming designers with local multibrand store Dong Liang hosting a show featuring looks from six Greater China designers, including Angel Chen — who also dressed Chinese rap sensation VaVa for her MAC-sponsored performance at the show — The Flocks, Museum of Friendship and Babyghost.
“It’s an amazing thing nowadays to have access to something like Singles’ Day, a designer who prepares year around by watching their numbers and keeping track of pieces that have been promoted by KOLs can actually plan aspects of their business and specific garment orders to coincide with the volume of customer demand that occurs during this time of the year,” Joshua Hupper, Babyghost cofounder and designer, said.
“Granted this holiday sells all manner of goods at discounts, but it feels like fashion in particular is growing more and more in popularity. It’s gotten to the point where our annual report has a space allocated specifically for Singles’ Day sales. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
Celebrities who made appearances during the show included actress Fan Bingbing, fashion favorite Chris Lee and models Ming Xi and He Sui.