PARIS — Marking the next step in its development under new majority owner Exor, Shang Xia, the Chinese luxury brand established by Hermès International, has appointed Yang Li as fashion creative director, effective immediately.
The first Shang Xia collection by Yang Li will be unveiled at Paris Fashion Week on Oct. 4, marking the brand’s runway debut as it embraces a more fashion-driven approach.
Jiang Qiong Er, cofounder and creative director of Shang Xia, said the Beijing-born designer, who is based between London and Paris, was an ideal fit for the label, which also unveiled a horizontal logo.
“Yang Li’s personality and proven talent, as well as his vision of modernity and understanding of sustainability, means he will naturally embrace and enrich the unique heritage of Shang Xia,” she said in a statement.
Born in 1987, Li spent his teenage years in Australia before moving to London to study at Central Saint Martins. His eponymous label, founded in 2010, is known for collaborations with underground and cult musicians such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, Savages frontwoman Jehnny Beth and German industrial rocker Blixa Bargeld.
Li, who was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize for Young Designers in 2014, has toyed with different formats to present his designs, which blend classic tailoring with poetic silhouettes in unexpected contrasts.
For fall 2019, he handed over the clothes to 30 women, including Asia Argento and Rossy de Palma, who simultaneously posted selfies on Instagram, while for resort 2020, he collaborated with Magnum photographer Antoine d’Agata on a series of portraits of modern Chinese women.
“It is an honor to join Shang Xia to embark on this incredible journey with such a talented team,” Li said.
“I’m eager to dive into the brand’s incredible universe, rich in storytelling, through its heritage and its impressive network of talent who have become authentic brand ambassadors. I’m looking forward to sharing my own creative experiences and to helping take Shang Xia into the next exciting chapter,” he added.
Exor, the owner of Ferrari and The Economist Group, revealed its investment in Shang Xia last December. Hermès and Jiang remain important shareholders in the company, founded in 2010 as the first luxury brand rooted in Chinese culture.
Jiang said she drew inspiration from Chinese philosophy for Shang Xia, which means “up-down” in Chinese. “It is the meeting of the opposites, as in the Yi Ching ‘up and down,’ the yin and the yang, the woman and the man, the sky and the earth,” she said.
Having established signature products such as its Da Tian Di chair, Sculpture cashmere felt outerwear and Lan Yue handbag, the brand embarked on the next stage of growth last year with the opening of three boutiques in China, and a capsule collection aimed at younger customers.
However, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic meant revenues were flat in 2020, after a jump of 60 percent in 2019. The company is banking on Li to rev up the business as it prepares to expand with new stores in some of the most exclusive retail destinations in China and worldwide.
Exor is one of Europe’s largest diversified holding companies and is controlled by the Agnelli family. Its portfolio includes Stellantis, the company born from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and French automotive group PSA; football team Juventus F.C., and Italian media conglomerate GEDI Gruppo Editoriale.
It also owns a 24 percent stake in the Christian Louboutin shoe brand.