Last Thursday night Shanghai Tang launched their Spring/Summer 2011 collection titled Metamorphosis at Beijing’s JE Mansion. The JE Mansion, a remodeled hotel that mixes Chinese and Western elements such a woodwork, stone carvings and antique Chinese décor acted as the perfect backdrop for the event. The collection took inspiration from the Miao people, one of China’s officially recognized ethnic minorities that live primarily in southern China. The Miao people have great respect for nature and animals feature predominantly in their mythology. Shanghai Tang took these themes to create the Metamorphosis collection and adopted the butterfly as the main symbol for the fashion show as it is the ancestor of all Miao people.
The show itself lasted around 20 minutes and showed Shanghai Tangs reinterpretation of Miao culture through colorful prints, and patterns. The catwalk entrance was flanked by a large neon lit butterfly, which swirled with an array of colors to give the impression of flight and transformation. Despite some technical difficulties (parts of the guest seating collapsed during the show) Shanghai Tang did a great job of producing an elegant event true to their brand image The show was also broadcast live online and can be seen on the Shanghai Tang website here.
Shanghai Tang, started by Hong Kong entrepreneur David Tang in 1994 and purchased by the Richemont Group since 1998 is dubbed by many as China’s leading luxury brand and ambassador of Chinese chic. Since its inception Shanghai Tang gained popularity with tourists and consumers wanting chic Chinese themed products, yet this has also led to the brand perceived as just a fancy souvenir brand. It’s a tricky game that Shanghai Tang must play with their brand image and positioning (see related article) in order to appeal to Chinese luxury consumers who prefer products with a European rather then Chinese aesthetic.