Today, Burberry, the British luxury fashion giant, announced that it will be taking its Fall 2020 runway show to Shanghai on Thursday, April 23. Burberry, who have been homing in on China’s purchasing power over the last few seasons, is the latest luxury brand to take its runway show to China. In the past year, brands including Dior, Valentino, and Prada have all showed in the region.
Burberry’s Fall 2020 show will first be presented in London on Monday, February 17, during London Fashion Week before being packed up and taken to Shanghai later in the spring. Last season’s Burberry catwalk saw the brand seemingly setting up for big things to come in China by adopting an active Chinese social media strategy and leveraging the star power of its brand ambassadors — singer Kun Chen, actress Dongyu Zhou, and rapper Lucas Huang. As of today, however, we don’t know what celebrity faces will be featured at the Shanghai show, but we can assume they’ll be set to excite a delighted Shanghai crowd.
Also, as part of a dedicated program of activities the fashion house has planned in China this year, Burberry’s Fall 2020 runway show in Shanghai will also include new looks designed specifically for the Chinese market, which will be available to purchase exclusively in China in stores and online.
According to Riccardo Tisci, Burberry Chief Creative Officer, “My first years at Burberry were focused on establishing and defining my new identity for the house. Now we are ready to take this vision outside of London in new and exciting ways. Doing a show in China is a first for me. It’s a country that has always been so supportive of me and the moment will be a culmination of everything the teams and I have been working towards since I first started. It will be a celebration of our collections and our new attitude in one of the most innovative and inspiring cities in the world.”
Burberry currently has 61 stores in China and is set to open a social retail store in Shenzhen Bay as part of an exclusive partnership with Tencent during the first half of 2020. Previously, Burberry hosted a holographic show in 2011 for the opening of its Beijing flagship store and another catwalk in 2014 for the opening of the Shanghai Kerry Center. Nonetheless, this is the first time the brand has chosen to show a full collection in China and with new looks created entirely with Chinese consumers in mind.
According to the brand, driving engagement and inspiring luxury consumers in China is a key focus for Burberry in 2020. November 2019 saw Burberry report strong H1 results, despite continued unrest in Hong Kong shaking profits in the region. In mainland China, sales grew by a “mid-teen percentage” with the brand continuing to localize its China communications.
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In line with this, Burberry began the year with a dedicated Lunar New Year campaign and limited-edition capsule supported by a new online game in honor of the Year of the Rat. Despite the brand’s last Lunar New Year campaign being branded as “creepy” and “insensitive” by Chinese netizens (and quickly removed from online) Burberry’s sleek Year of the Rat collection has so far appeared to strike the right note with Chinese consumers.
Marco Gobbetti, Burberry’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Over the next 12 months we will be focusing our communications on the highest visibility touchpoints to deepen the emotional connection we are building with luxury consumers. We want to continually inspire our customers. The show is the latest in a series of exciting events we have planned this year in China, one of our most important markets, as we set out on the next phase of our transformation.”
Given that the Shanghai show will be certainly a star-studded event, Burberry is hoping that that it will help increase its popularity amongst China’s savvy, young consumers. Back in 2017, for example, Victoria’s Secret‘s first show in Shanghai saw seats selling on Taobao for $13,700 dollars a cushion. In a city with that kind of spending power, Burberry’s move could prove very lucrative indeed.