Dragon Tales

To coincide with the Dragon’s onslaught, here are some tasty morsels from the global press and the China fashion blogosphere.

At WWD, Hong Huang (THE Hong Huang, I imagine) complains of schlepping through Europe’s fashion weeks while her family is home enjoying dumplings and conviviality. She attributes scheduling that ignores Spring Festival to a paucity of Chinese buyers and multibrand department stores. Despite the purchasing power of consumers, Chinese brands stores and brands still lack clout.

Originality or its absence is related, Huang thinks. She cites the amusing predilection of Chinese for naming their brands after animals. Northeast Tiger, Baoxiniao (Happy Bird in Chinese) and Sept Wolves are major players who observed the early success of crocodile jerseys and concluded that animals sell.

Fashion-wise, she recommends red belts for all those born in the Year of the Dragon. As most will know, one must wear red in one’s birth year to avert ill fortune.

The Year of the Dragon is bound to bring good things for Chinese Vogue, as one can surmise from this Irish Times interview with EIC Angelica Cheung. In 2011, China was third among the 15 international editions in revenue. One might have guessed first, given the magazine’s almost dangerous heft and the frothiness of the market. I will have to ask friends how local editions of Bazaar and Cosmo compare.

Over at agglomerator China Fashion Bloggers, we see Hurun Report‘s list of the top ten gifting brands. Unsurprisingly, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès dominate. The only local brand is Moutai, that exceedingly mild white spirit.

AnyWearStyle runs through the highlights of 2011, including Burberry, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Bulgari events, and makes predictions for 2012. These include that much-lauded Uma Wang will be Designer of the Year and young Xiao Wen, Model of the Year. Sister site, AnyShopStyle, is also offering a special Chinese New Year discount. This is the spot for buying designers like Xander Zhou, Leo Kong, and others online.

Jing Daily speaks of eight recent trends and suggests the indignation toward high luxury taxes will intensify with little happening, conspicuous consumption will continue its “gradual death” – or what I might call a transition to manifestations considered less vulgar, and the luxury e-commerce market, now led by players like Xiu.com, Shangpin.com and 5LUX.com will undergo a weeding out process. Meanwhile, this piece at Jing forecasts a continued skyrocketing in Chinese luxury consumption abroad, including during the current New Year holiday.

Timothy Coghlan of The Maosuit gives us some great images of recent advertising campaigns with Chinese themes and all the special editions released for the Dragon Year. Huge events in 2012 will include Louis Vuitton celebrating year 20 in China by re-opening their Shanghai Plaza 66 Flagship, which will be the brand’s largest China outlet. LVMH will also commence a luxury mall project in Shanghai, with Macao Casino magnate Stanley Ho. The L’Avenue project in West Shanghai to host the complete stable of LVMH brands as well as a fancy office building. Colossal but oft-forgotten cities like Shenyang, Hangzhou and Tianjin will also see droves of new luxury brand malls opening.

So, just a lot more exuberance in the Year of the Dragon.

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