“Ah, that’s the big question. Some brands have taken a very strong position to say we will not dress the first lady. For me, she is the first lady but she remains a woman. We will never send product but if she wants to buy Delvaux, I think she will buy Delvaux,” Zeller said on Wednesday at a press preview in Hong Kong.
Delvaux’s approach has always been discreet and the brand doesn’t do celebrity endorsements, she said. “It’s already part of our brand philosophy. We will not run after the first lady but we will not avoid the first lady. If she is a customer, she is a customer as anyone else is.”
Donald Trump may become more moderate once he assumes office, Zeller offered, before sharing that the Belgian brand is about to deepen its presence in the U.S. “At the moment, we have an exclusive partnership with Barneys, in nine of their locations. The next step is to have freestanding shops in L.A. and New York because I think we’ve proved that we can be successful,” she said.
The artistic director will return to Hong Kong in April for the opening of a new boutique in the Landmark, its third in the city. There are 32 Delvaux stores worldwide, seven of which are located in greater China.
“Harbour City is generating a lot of traffic attracting a wide range of ages. The Peninsula remains a small boudoir boutique. It’s a very, very tiny shop but it’s always to start small and grow then to start too big and then face some difficulties. Many brands are closing because they have been by far very ambitious.”
A number of brands from Ralph Lauren, Coach, Abercrombie & Fitch, Forever 21, and Prada, have closed or plan to close stores in the city where the retail sector is suffering significantly from sagging Mainland Chinese tourist visitation.
Delvaux, a lowkey label which neither sells online or does any kind of advertising, says it positions itself as an alternative to Hermès which is more ubiquitous in Asia.
“It’s true that in Asia, Hermès is everywhere. Some women have 20 Birkins or 10 Kellys,” Zeller said. Even if we are small, we certainly are an alternative for these customers who are a bit fed up and something more personal. When you wear Delvaux it’s as if you belong to a club. If you see someone wearing Delvaux you know immediately, ‘oh she has something in common with me.”