China has a taste for the best.

posted by on 2011.04.27, under articles of interest

China’s taste for high-end fashion and luxury brands reaches new heights, Vogue China editions are the size the size of a doorstop these days it is definetly the new frontier when it comes to high end fashion and luxury beands, just by sheer number alone: 960,000 millionaires and rising, and now the aspirational class are buying; reports Tania Branigan from  Beijing .

Angelica Cheung, the editor of Vogue China has a problem her counterparts would sell their designer wardrobes for: too much advertising to fit in the glossy.

“I have to sit down at a desk to flip through it,” she says. “It is going to get very difficult to read. It’s too heavy. Maybe it will have to be two magazines in future.”

High-end brands are happy to assist. The ubiquitous Louis Vuitton boutiques have been joined by Loewe and Balmain. Burberry plans to expand from 57 to 100 stores within five years. Hermès has even launched its own China-specific sub-brand, Shang Xia.

Within four years China will become the world’s largest luxury market, worth $27bn (£16bn), up from $10bn in 2009.

Add in purchases overseas, by Chinese tourists avoiding the country’s sky-high luxury taxes, and the figures are staggering. Chinese consumers will buy more than 44% of the world’s luxury goods by 2020, forecasts CLSA Asia-Pacific, the brokerage and investment group.

Cheung says Vogue China requires more “education” pages than its sister titles, to make up for the missing years and unravel the western references. “In China [the 1960s] was the Cultural Revolution. You need to explain swinging London, Mary Quant, the Beatles and why these people made a difference. If you don’t explain, they’re just clothes.”

It seems that is our Modus Operandi here at beauty delux without culture there is no fashion.

Certainly, the fashion industry is putting down roots in popular culture. China has its own Project Runway – called Creative Sky, with Cheung as a judge. And it has its own take on The Devil Wears Prada, with the fashion romance Colour Me Love. “The next decade will be the golden era for luxury.” for China.

Prada shoulder bags and Gucci clutches are essential props for many businessmen. And if they are not carrying their own status symbol, young men may wield one on behalf of a girlfriend.

Many of these new consumers are executives and entrepreneurs, keen to show they have made it, or the offspring of wealthy families. Others, however, are the aspirational: “Secretaries who live on instant noodles for six months to pay for their LV handbag … it’s a way of saying, ‘I have become part of this world,’ ” said Paul French of the retail consultancy Access Asia.

Every mall in Beijing has a Versace, and every year there’s another mall,” said Miao Wong, managing director of a record company, as she eyed the designer-clad crowd at a recent Burberry party in the capital. Two or three years ago she too shopped for high-end, western labels; these days she prefers local designers such as Vega Wang.

She may be rare among her peers, but officials also appear to think fashion is better when it keeps a lower profile. Beijing recently banned billboards promoting “hedonistic and high-end lifestyles”, underlining concern about overt displays of wealth in an increasingly unequal society.

One day later a minister indicated plans to cut luxury taxes. The message to brands and customers alike: consumption is fine, just don’t make it too conspicuous.

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They are the new economy, it is a shame we don’t have enough of a presence with our Australian labels to get a slice of such a lucrative market.

Amy ( April 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm )

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