What Happened: Saint Laurent’s Spring 2023 show took place with the Eiffel Tower as its dramatic backdrop. To match his sculptural silhouettes, creative director Anthony Vaccarello erected a gigantic cascading fountain at Jardin du Trocadéro, where models — wearing body-sculpting dresses and floor-sweeping shoulder padded coats — walked accompanied by orchestral music.
After years of influencing street style, Vaccarello revealed his desire to reassert “that mega and super elegance of the house” that he felt was missing. And the response? Domestic media outlets and netizens adored the epic runway and the exquisitely delicate drapings. Fashion KOL @Eilice commented: “In recent years, runways have overly democratized. Celine is continuously proposing denim and Bottega Veneta created a country bumpkin style check shirt. Only Saint Laurent is showcasing a fashion catwalk.”
The Jing Take: The star studded front row included the likes of Kate Moss, Zoe Kravitz, Hayley Bieber and Blackpink’s Rosé as well as China’s Leah Dou — musician and daughter of the renowned singer Wang Fei — who flew in to attend the Paris show. In China, seven other celebrities invited by the brand: Zhu Zhengting, Liu Lingzi, Joseph Zeng, Shan Yichun, and more (combined they command over 100 million followers on Weibo) contributed to driving massive organic online traffic. As many as 27.3 million viewers flooded to the house’s livestream on Weibo to watch the show.
Needless to say, Saint Laurent’s show budgets are high, but so is the parent company’s expectation of the Parisian name; Kering urgently needs to create a second Gucci to reduce its reliance on the Italian heritage brand. During the investor presentation in June this year, the luxury conglomerate announced its ambition to double sales of its fast-growing fashion house Saint Laurent to 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) in the medium term.
Francesca Bellettini, Saint Laurent’s CEO, aims to reach the number by continuing to leverage the brand’s leather goods category, which now makes up 72 percent of sales. In light of this, China and its young demographics’ appetite for high-ticket bags is promising for the 61–year-old player. According to Euromonitor, domestic sales of luxury handbags more than doubled in 2021 to hit $15 billion (106 billion RMB), which is up from $7 billion (50 billion RMB) in 2019. Even though the powerhouse entered China much later than other luxury rivals, its awareness and reputation are on track to sustain expansion in the region. Netizen reaction to the show is proof of that.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.