MILAN — Chinese fashion group VGrass Fashion Co. Ltd. is eyeing Western markets.
To reach its goal, the Nanjing-based group, which is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and has a turnover of $300 million, has established VGrass Italy Srl, which operates the VGrass Studio label.
“VGrass Studio represents the group’s international growth strategy and the mission to expand our horizons on a global level. We felt that Italy was the perfect stage to make a first, relevant step toward the definition of a high-end product marked by sophisticated style and flawless quality,” said VGrass Studio chief executive officer Su Zehua. “This project has a ‘dual soul’ in which the best of China’s resources and talents combine with the best in international creativity to shape something unseen and unexpected, made of boundless inspiration and mixed codes. Our philosophy is ‘stay humble, have style, respect other cultures and always be curious and open-minded.’ VGrass Studio blends all these messages in a fresh international brand that elevates the Chinese sense of beauty through the unique vision and expertise of Made in Italy.”
Positioned in the more affordable segment of the luxury market, VGrass Studio, which is making its debut at Milan Fashion Week with a presentation on Feb. 24, is designed by Rodolfo Paglialunga, who joined the brand as creative director last March.
“When I was reached by the company to start the collaboration, I found it extremely interesting that they wanted to make their business more international, and at the same time, they wanted to come to Italy not only for the manufacturing opportunities but also to significantly invest in a country [that] they adore for its culture and fashion tradition,” said Paglialunga, who exited Jil Sander in March 2017 after three years at the creative helm of the luxury label.
“Rodolfo has an excellent résumé. His experiences at Prada, Vionnet and Jil Sander are impressive. He has a unique approach to modern femininity and exquisite taste in fabrics. He’s a master of cutting and detailing, and has an incredible eye for color,” Zehua said. “More importantly, Rodolfo is a humble and sincere person. A visionary designer driven by passion and patience. His aesthetic and artistic vocation fully reflects our vision of beauty, and we see this collaboration as a new ‘silk road’ to connect tradition and change, local heritage and global appeal, East and West.”
According to Paglialunga, the offering of the VGrass Studio label is different from the VGrass fashion proposal, which is mainly distributed across China, both in terms of style and positioning.
“VGrass Studio wants to propose an international, refined ready-to-wear, focused on sophisticated constructions and exclusive fabrics,” said Paglialunga, highlighting that the collection is entirely manufactured in Italy in four factories located in the Lombardy and Veneto regions. “This line doesn’t target a specific woman, but it wants to meet the needs of a wide and international audience.”
VGrass Studio is available only at the brand’s boutique located on Milan’s Via Spiga, in the heart of the Golden Triangle luxury shopping district, but another flagship will open in Shanghai at the end of April, while a pop-up store will debut at Beijing’s SKP shopping mall in October. According to the company, an additional flagship will open its doors in Paris or London in 2020, when V Grass Studio will also debut e-commerce. “As our primary target is the international traveler audience, we also aim to build a robust wholesale distribution within 2020,” Zehua added.
During Milan Fashion Week, the brand will unveil a capsule collection focused on special pieces. “Our main lineup centers on beautiful and daily products, but for fashion week, I think it makes more sense to show the most evocative and inspirational side of the brand,” Paglialunga explained.
Recently, VGrass Studio’s parent company VGrass Fashion Co. Ltd acquired the Nanjing Museum, which is dedicated to Yunjin, also called cloud brocade, an antique traditional Chinese silk brocade incorporating precious gold threads. The group operates 150 Grass boutiques and in 2016 acquired the Teenie Weenie label, counting more than 1,000 boutiques.