HOME SWEET HOME: The fifth Hermès Maison in the world celebrated its opening in Shanghai on Friday.
Located in a heritage-listed building from the Twenties on the downtown shopping street of Huaihai Road, the four story, 1,174-square-meter store opened to the public after six years of renovations.
Despite a recent slowdown in China’s luxury market, largely attributed to the government’s ongoing crackdown on corruption and gifting, Hermès chief exectuive Axel Dumas said the brand is still doing well in China, in part because it relies less on the gifting market than other brands, therefore benefitting from more customers buying luxury items for personal use.
“We are very, very confident about the Chinese market, there are many trends in the Chinese market and we are seeing many people now buying for themselves, there is also a refinement, a knowledge of what is luxury,” said Dumas, a sixth generation member of the Hermès family, who added that the brand’s Madison Avenue Maison opened during the financial crisis of 2008 and has gone on to perform well.
“It has been one of the specific [strengths] of Hermès, that we are quite resilient to crisis because there is a special value placed on our products, because of the time invested in creating it and the time our clients spend with it,” he explained at a press preview for the store.
Unsurprisingly for a brand that started life as a harness maker and is opening a Maison in Shanghai during the Chinese astrological calendar’s Year of the Horse, an equine-themed exhibition graces the building’s top floor.
Curated by artist, Philippe Dumas, a fourth generation family member, the exhibition is essentially brings together horse-related collectibles, mainly from early 19th-century Europe, but also from closer to home, with pieces such as a Mongolian-style saddle from the Qing Dynasty sourced from the Hohhot Museum in Inner Mongolia.