Victoria’s Secret to charm China with fashion gala

Victoria’s Secret models pose to mark the countdown to the 2017 Victoria’s Secret fashion show in Shanghai on November 18, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2017
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Victoria’s Secret to charm China with fashion gala

SHANGHAI: The star-studded, super-hyped Victoria’s Secret lingerie show hits the catwalk in Shanghai on Monday, the first time the US brand is holding its self-described “sexiest show on earth” outside the United States or Europe.
Coming to China is all about business: the company’s bottom line is sagging and it is staking its future on the growing Chinese market.
Here is everything you should know about the annual festival of music, lace and flesh, now in its 23rd year.
Western markets for intimate wear have already matured, but China’s is still blossoming as rapid societal changes help loosen Communist-era prudity.
China’s women are a growing consumer force and more interested than ever before in expressing their sexuality, fashion analysts assert, and they increasingly have the money to do so.
Lingerie is among the fastest growing segments of Chinese women’s apparel market, reaching 112 billion yuan ($17 billion) in 2015, according to market-intelligence firm Mintel Group, which projects it will grow by another 32 percent by 2020.
Victoria’s Secret, whose business performance has withered amid US competition and a product realignment, has taken notice, opening its first two Chinese flagship stores this year, including a huge four-story Shanghai emporium.
Making the VS runway is one of the most coveted gigs in modelling, but the company has been accused of bias toward leggy blondes or Latinas in selecting its “angels” — so-called for the trademark wings they wear.
But last year it tapped a record four Asian models and, in a nod to this year’s hosts, Shanghai will feature six of Chinese origin, according to reports.
They are led by China’s top model Liu Wen, the first Asian on Forbes’ annual list of the world’s highest-paid fashion divas.
She’ll reportedly be joined by Shu Pei, Sui He, Xiao Wenju, Shanghai’s own Ming Xi, and Paris-born Estelle Chen, who will prowl the catwalk along with top earners such as Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Jasmine Tookes, and Karli Kloss.
Holding the racy event in Communist-ruled China seemed destined to get somebody’s knickers in a twist.
Sure enough, US model Gigi Hadid withdrew Friday after Chinese netizens accused her of racism and warned her to stay home over a video clip of her making a squinty-eyed “Asian” face.
Hadid, who had apologized to Chinese fans in September, gave no reason for suddenly withdrawing, and it was not clear whether VS or China’s government may have dropped her to avoid a PR fiasco.
US fashion media also have run unconfirmed reports that Russian models Julia Belyakova, Kate Grigorieva and Irina Sharipova, and Ukraine’s Dasha Khlystun, had been denied Chinese visas, for reasons unknown.
Critics pan the show as a sexist and bloated branding stunt, but it nevertheless manages to generate significant buzz with its mix of bling and star power.
Musical performers through the years have included the Spice Girls, Phil Collins, Destiny’s Child, Sting, Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga, and A-list celebs typically occupy audience seats that reportedly cost thousands of dollars.
The 2017 performers will include Harry Styles, Grammy winner Miguel, and Chinese singer Jane Zhang.
The night’s highlight comes when a model dons the jewel-encrusted “Fantasy Bra.”
The honor this year goes to Brazil’s Lais Ribeiro, who will model a $2 million bra made by Swiss-based luxury-goods company Mouawad and studded with nearly 6,000 gemstones including diamonds, yellow sapphires, and blue topaz.
The show tapes in Shanghai on Monday night but will not air globally until November 28.
Even with the splashy China debut, Victoria’s Secret and its premium products — a single bra in its Shanghai store runs up to 658 yuan ($100) — may find a tough battle on its hands.
A range of established domestic and foreign brands like China’s Aimer and Cosmo Lady, and France’s Aubade, already have staked out Chinese turf, and growth rates are tapering off.
Mintel said annual growth spiked to 18 percent in 2011 but projects that to slow to just 4.4 percent by 2020.


Fashion Forward Dubai pop-up store returns to Saudi Arabia

Fashion Forward Dubai will present a carefully curated selection of the best apparel and accessory designers from the region. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 23 May 2018
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Fashion Forward Dubai pop-up store returns to Saudi Arabia

  • FFWD will present a carefully curated selection of the best apparel and accessory designers from the region
  • The pop-up is driven by Fashion Forward’s mission to promote, celebrate and develop the region’s leading fashion talents

DUBAI: Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD), the Middle East fashion platform, returns for a second edition of their pop-up store in Saudi Arabia’s Rubaiyat department store in Jeddah from May 25 to June 15.

FFWD will present a carefully curated selection of the best apparel and accessory designers from the region including Anaya, Atelier Zuhra, Arwa Al Banawi, Baruni, Beige, Bint Thani, Hessa Falasi, Lama Jouni, Nasiba Hapiz, Sara Altwaim, Shahad Rehami and Sarah’s Bag. 

The pop-up is driven by Fashion Forward’s mission to promote, celebrate and develop the region’s leading fashion talents. Endorsed by the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC) and supported by Dubai Design District (d3), the initiative is dedicated to supporting the evolving regional fashion ecosystem in its pursuit of attaining commercial success and widening reach into new markets.

“Fashion Forward has decided to partner with the prestigious Rubaiyat for its second edition as we firmly believe in the synergy that this partnership brings to all parties involved. We were thrilled with the success of the designers in last year’s pop-up and are enthusiastic about the opportunity to continue nurturing our designers in growing retail markets, such as KSA,” said Bong Guerrero, CEO and co-founder of FFWD.

ANAYA: Named after the designer’s daughter and inspired by her creativity and drive to follow her dream of building a fashion empire for the power women of the new era. In 2010, Chathuri won the International Young Fashion Entrepreneur award from the British Fashion Council at London Fashion Week for her startup company ANAYA. 

ATELIER ZUHRA: Atelier Zuhra was established in 2015 under business entrepreneur Mousa Al-Awfi, who supported her dream to build a couture atelier in Dubai and dress up women with glamor and perfection. Zuhra passed her dream to her daughter Rayan Al-Sulaimani, who raised the bar by scaling up the designs to a more sophisticated and outstanding quality. 

ARWA AL BANAWI: Like her eponymous label, Saudi-born designer Arwa Al-Banawi is an eclectic mix of contrasts. Designed for the subtle woman, her aesthetic is both classically cool and feminine — earning her recognition from Vogue.com and a finalist position at Jeddah Vogue Fashion Experience.

BARUNI: Created by Fadwa Baruni, the Baruni brand is strongly led by regional and local cultural influences as well as the colors and textures of nature, developing a signature style for the Baruni collection. 

BEIGE: Launched in 2017 by Muna Al-Othaiman, contemporary womenswear brand Beige fuses clean silhouettes with impeccable tailoring, evoking timeless modernity. 

BINT THANI: Inspired by art and architecture since its inception in 2012, BINT THANI offers curated collections that amplify the brand’s DNA of feminine and wearable styles for an international, design-orientated customer. 

HESSA FALASI: An Emirati brand established in 2011 in Dubai and inspired by Arabic culture, where traditional abayas are given a modern twist with a variety of high-quality fabrics, a kaleidoscope of colors in on-trend fashion. 

LAMA JOUNI: Lama Jouni is a high-end ready-to-wear label created in November 2013 in Paris. The name of the brand represents the designer and founder of the company. 

NASIBA HAFIZ: The woman who wears Nasiba Hafiz is not afraid to try new things and is not restricted by background, place or time. She has traveled the world and knows how to inject her heritage into a style that is particularly hers. 

SARA ALTWAIM: Born to a family of art lovers, Sara Altwaim has a passion for everything artistic. She took up writing poetry as a hobby and fashion design as her life’s passion. 

SHAHAD REHAIMI: Shahad Rehaimi’s Abaya collection is extravagantly unique and caters to trendy women. She aims to demonstrate every woman’s perfection through different fashionable styles.  

SARAH’S BAG: Dynamic, passionate and determined, with an epicurean’s delight in beauty and art, founder and creative director Sarah Beydoun designs handbags and accessories that are known for their intricate craftsmanship, attention to detail and vibrant, high-spirited appeal.