This week centered on international affairs, mainly developments in China. To start, Neiman Marcus celebrated the launch of its new Chinese website through a fashion show on the Bund waterfront that featured spring collections from revered designers including Reed Krakoff, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Donna Karan and Tory Burch. There were only a few hundred attendees, comprising current or potential Neiman Marcus customers including artists, musicians and socialites.
Meanwhile, Christian Louboutin became one of the most recent brands to build a presence in China. The footwear brand reportedly launched a Sina Weibo profile, YouKu and Toudu pages. Content on these sites includes behind-the-scenes videos and shows of the designer. WWD also reports that an ecommerce site for Louboutin will set to launch in a few months.
Much like the United States’ fascination with its own First Lady Michelle Obama, former singer and current First Lady of China Pen Liyuan has caught the attention of her home country – most especially its high-end fashion labels. Experts and journalists are thinking that this interest in Ms. Liyuan’s fashions could dramatically shape the Chinese fashion industry, especially the way that consumers see domestic labels. High-end Chinese brands have waned in the marketplace in the existence of foreign brands from the U.S. and Europe, but when Ms. Liyuan went on an overseas visit wearing a Guangzhou fashion brand called Exception, internet searches for the brand went from 290 to 31,626 in two days. This provides a huge opportunity for high-end Chinese labels.
In other news, Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce of Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana were fined $440 million following an investigation for tax evasion. The Italian tax authority started investigating in 2007 after the brand sold its business to a Luxembourg-based holding company, in what prosecutors say was an attempt to dodge notoriously high taxes in Italy. However, both men were charged in court this week by a Milan tax court. Other than a possible initial hiccup, most experts do not believe that these charges will derail the Dolce & Gabbana business.