Five-star fare for fashionistas

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2008, 12:00am

Fashion enthusiasts can lap up the atmosphere at the MasterCard Luxury Week Hong Kong, organised by IMG Fashion for the second consecutive year.

The event, running from next Tuesday to Saturday at the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, will showcase high-end apparel and accessories from some of the world's leading luxury fashion brands.

According to the organiser, the event will affirm the city as the luxury shopping capital of Asia after the inaugural success of last year's Luxury Week, which confirmed that the fashion industry was ready to embrace a consumer version of an industry fashion week.

'Through events such as Luxury Week, we build on our fashion and fashionable lifestyles platform to bring these increasingly sophisticated and affluent consumers in Asia a unique opportunity to access luxury items and enjoy insider luxury experiences,' Natalie Lockwood, group head of global marketing for Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa at MasterCard Worldwide said. MasterCard is the principle sponsor of the event.

Simon Lock, managing director of IMG Fashion Asia-Pacific, said: 'We and our sponsors deemed the event last year a huge success that exceeded our expectations in terms of attendance, uptake from celebrities and overall media outcome, which was worth in excess of US$3.2 million.'

He said there is a substantial benefit for participating luxury brands wanting to increase exposure and promote the new season's looks to more consumers.

Although the number of days for the Luxury Week has been reduced, the number of brands showing has been increased, with multiple catwalk shows, including high-tea showings and gala evening showcases, being staged over the five days, culminating with a 'best-of' show on the last day.

'The number and quality of luxury brands participating this year reaches our vision - to bring the experience of the industry phenomenon of a 'fashion week' in a retail version to the discerning VIP clients of Hong Kong,' Mr Lock said. 'The number of brands reflects the confidence the luxury market has in Hong Kong and its target customers in the city.'

He said there will be a strong official schedule featuring some of the most coveted global luxury brands taking part and that the high-tea showings in the afternoons were introduced this year.

With the high calibre of brands from around the world, such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs and Escada, the runway promises to be particularly luxurious and eye-catching.

Led by one of Asia's top models Emma Pei, 14 international IMG models will grace the catwalk giving fashion fanatics a glimpse of designer picks from a variety of autumn/winter 2008 collections from around the globe, and showcasing designs that will be featured in leading fashion magazines and available in stores.

Mr Lock said customers who consume luxury brands will be inspired by their experience at Luxury Week and that it encourages them to purchase items they have seen on the catwalk.

'The Jean Paul Gaultier opening show is expected to be a sensational premiere for Luxury Week,' he said. 'Special highlights are the debut of Donna Karan and the first lingerie and swimwear show in Luxury Week by La Perla.'

Despite the presence of high-profile luxury brands in the event, Mr Lock said it was not immune to the current economic climate, adding, 'When this sector is challenged, it just tries harder.'

He said Luxury Week acts as a platform that provides opportunities for brands and retailers to target customers and convert sales in a more economical and focused way and this is one of the creative ways to continue to reach out to new consumers and inspire its regular clientele.

Moving indoors from last year's erected marquee at Chater Garden to a five-star hotel, the event is now freed from being affected by adverse weather. In addition to that, the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong has been embraced by many luxury brands and has helped to increase their overall participation, the event organiser said.

One of the targets set by the organiser this year is to cement the event as a permanent annual fixture on the Hong Kong and regional fashion calendar through the success of its second year.

'The event is still in its infancy, so it is still a new event for Hong Kong and is settling into an annual rhythm,' Mr Lock said. 'But the growth experienced to date is very encouraging.'

He said given the strong level of interest, the uptake from local celebrities and confirmation of attendance from local and international media, the group expected the event would deliver an exceptional benchmark with continued growth expected each year.