Louis Vuitton’s recent Pre-Fall 2024 collection took place in Hong Kong. The showcase included numerous notable factors including opening with 23-year-old Malaysian male model Ridzman Zidaine, a first for the brand and the collection being men’s creative director Pharrell Williams’s first pre-collection for Louis Vuitton – and the Maison’s first Men’s Pre-Fall show. As expected, the hosting city played a large part of the collection’s narrative. The show was staged in the metropole of Hong Kong SAR, where local tradition melds with multicultural influences while the city’s Victoria Harbour skyline in Tsim Sha Tsui made a notable appearance both on the runway and in the collection’s campaign imagery. The “dandy” clothing and silhouettes reflected the connective power of travel through nautical themes as seen by codes of surfing, the sailing-inpired hats and tropical floral prints which was aimed at celebrating a wardrobe that had travelled and in doing so, embraced different continents, thus the “from Hawaii to Hong Kong” perspective.
With Louis Vuitton’s Pre-Fall 2024 moving to Hong Kong from Seoul, Korea where the label held their Women’s Pre-Fall 2023 show in April this year, its clear Louis Vuitton is setting their sights on the Asian market. At least for South Korea, it was evident. Having “Squid Game” director Hwang Dong-hyuk work on the stunning backdrop effects alongside actress Jung Ho-yeon who opened the show, it was evident that Louis Vuitton was leveraging on the (k)pop-culture zeitgeist while also maintaining ties with their Korean ambassadors and legions of fans who follow them. Fast forward to Louis Vuitton’s Pre-Fall 2024 collection, and a question is raised why Hong Kong and why now?
Over recent years it seems as if South East Asian countries the likes of Thailand, Philippines and Singapore have emerged as fashion contenders in the region, overtaking Hong kong as the “new” Asian hub. In India we saw Dior take their Fall 2023 show to Mumbai taking inspiration from Rajasthani embroidery, Indian craftsmanship and the nation’s vast production of textile and embellishments.
Where Dior took the artisanal route, focusing on couture elements, Louis Vuittion took Hong Kong as a springboard and not so much a literal interpretation. The collection didn’t include a modern take on local, traditional dressing for instance but rather used to location to drive home the modern “sailor”, “surfer” and “fisherman” tropes which, while executed beautifully with denim bomber jacket embellished
with pearls and crystals, nature-centric motifs and the use of the Damier Heritage pattern to capture the naval essence of the collection, the location could have been interchangeable with just about any seaside location.
Some newsites refered to the showcase as a “Renaissance of the city” as “Hong Kong bids to regain centre stage as fashion capital” referring to Hong Kong’s efforts to maintain its fashion ecosystem and cement its status as global luxury hub. Hong Kong is also supported by financial backing from the goverment. The Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau was responsible for providing governmental help for the show, another element that differenciates the Hong Kong from its more conservative regional counterparts. This effort comes as the South China Morning Post reported last month that Hong Kong has the potential to become Asia’s premier fashion stage, particularly for sustainable fashion. This was based on Hong Kong’s desire to protect the environment and reduce waste, sustainable fashion is poised to replace fast fashion while keeping in mind the global shift towards environmental protection.
Hong Kong’s spending power is not to be neglected as well. Hong Kong’s luxury market made a strong rebound in 2023, successfully recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. An August 2023 report titled “World Market for Luxury Goods” by Euromonitor, a London-based market researcher, revealed that Hong Kong has regained its spot as the market with the highest per capita expenditure on luxury goods.
Elements of this article were referenced from the South China Morning Post.
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