Luxury fashion brands play it safe for Lunar New Year

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Gucci, Valentino and Marni are among luxury brands releasing Lunar New Year capsule collections in China, all about the Year of the Tiger. While the campaigns are ramping up, experts note that brands are taking a more cautious approach in order to avoid missteps in luxury’s biggest growth market.

Gucci’s Tiger collection features various renditions of the animal — a reflection of creative director Alessandro Michele’s fascination with nature, according to the Italian house — and a pastel palette inspired by traditional Chinese art. From 14 January, Canadian retailer Holt Renfrew will host dedicated pop-up experiences with the brand, while Gucci’s US boutiques in cities including New York and Chicago will feature special installations. Balenciaga, Dior, Marni, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Burberry, Versace and Fendi are also releasing – wait for it – tiger-inspired capsule collections and limited-edition products and promoting the holiday on their global social channels.

The stakes are high as ever. Chinese consumers are the engine of worldwide growth in luxury spending, and the region is on track to become the biggest luxury market by 2025, according to Bain & Company. Finding the right marketing messages for China is critical, particularly around the key Lunar New Year holiday. However, the line between success and failure is thin, and luxury brands are erring on the safe side, using a literal interpretation of the zodiac animal as the hook for new collections, says Kim Leitzes, Launchmetrics’ APAC managing director.

Balenciaga is celebrating the Lunar New Year with a capsule collection of pre-existing pieces that have been updated with a new tiger motif.

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