Sunday, 12 July 2009

Haute Couture Appeals To A New Audience – 12/7/09

With the global financial crisis breathing down its neck, is Haute Couture (HC) about to go out of fashion? A recent Guardian article suggested it is “fighting for its life”, while a Financial Times reporter said that it “seems as volatile in its identity as the price of oil.”

The Guardian article, Chanel Looks To The East To Lure Chinese Shoppers, suggests that brands like Chanel and Christian Dior are shifting their focus on selling HC to wealthy Chinese. Chanel even put an Asian spin on their recent collection unveiling a traditional Chinese cheongsam dress.

Dior is also pulling out all the stops to impress their Asian audience by sponsoring an art exhibition in Beijing. This exhibition, entitled 'Dior And Chinese Artists', attracted 60,000 visitors and bolstered the brand's standing in China.

These examples show that luxury brands are re-evaluating the longevity of HC and questioning its ability to re-invent. HC is very expensive to maintain, however for brands like Chanel and Dior, it is the 'top of the pyramid', the lofty heights most customers aspire to. It also helps to sell their ready-to-wear lines, accessories and, most importantly, their fragrance and beauty products – making it a very valuable commodity indeed!

To read a critique on the Paris couture shows, click here.

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Melinda O’Rourke is the founder and Director of MO Luxury, a dynamic, Sydney-based management firm specialising in luxury brands and services. Melinda and her associates at MO work with local and international brands across prestige retail, fashion, fine jewellery, timepieces and specialised services. Melinda is well-connected, well-read, and well-versed in the demands of the luxury market and its client base. Her advice is firmly based in objectivity and ultimately, accountability. Melinda offers constructive counsel and both strategic and creative thinking and is able to draw upon a strong network of specialised talent to compliment the MO Luxury team as needed. Melinda enjoys excellent industry relationships and is regularly quoted in the business and fashion media. Read more about MO Luxury,