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5th December 2023

Hong Kong leads the way in the fashion show scene

Could Hong Kong establish itself as the prime city for hosting the most eagerly awaited fashion shows?
Hong Kong leads the way in the fashion show scene
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Hong Kong has emerged as the latest focal point for fashion shows, hosting extravagant runway spectacles from brands such as Louis Vuitton, with others following suit.

Hong Kong strove to reclaim its prominence as a fashion capital, drawing thousands of celebrity enthusiasts outside the glamorous Louis Vuitton runway show on November 30. Louis Vuitton’s creative director for menswear, Pharrell Williams, made a striking appearance during the men’s pre-fall show in Hong Kong, elegantly dressed in a beige suit and a distinctive sailor-style hat. Williams showcased his pre-fall 2024 men’s collection to a crowd of around 1,200 attendees, which included Chow Yun-fat from ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and the well-known Korean actor and brand ambassador, Song Joong-ki.

The show was themed on travel, including everywhere from “Hawaii to Hong Kong,” according to Williams. Louis Vuitton converted the iconic Avenue of Stars harbour-front promenade into an urban beach setting. Surf community members from Hawaii, among others, showcased a mix of striped suits, sailing jackets, fisherman-style sandals, and “tropical floral prints” while strolling along the harbourfront. Williams’ designs, characterised by relaxed shapes and added details, lent an upscale touch to beach-inspired attire in some outfits. The ensembles were often accessorised with nautical elements such as raffia bucket hats and a hand-embroidered Louis Vuitton Keepall 25 bag adorned with seashells.

Pharrell Williams expressed immense gratitude for the city’s support in the past and highlighted his numerous collaborations and events held there, including a private sale by his digital auction platform Joopiter and jeweller Lorraine Schwartz in March. Regarding his Louis Vuitton show schedule, he stated, “I definitely knew I wanted Hong Kong to be my second stop after Paris.”

Skyline of Hong Kong at sunrise
Credit: Manson Yim @ Unsplash

Although Pre-Fall collections typically don’t hold the same prestige as Spring-Summer or Fall-Winter lines for fashion labels, this event highlighted the significance of Hong Kong, and emphasised its importance within the broader Asian context. In 1979, Louis Vuitton established its first boutique in Hong Kong. Currently, residents of this city outspend the rest of the world per person on luxury items, as reported by Euromonitor, making it a top destination for luxury shopping in the broader region. Hong Kong’s appeal is further enhanced by its lack of sales tax, which traditionally draws luxury shoppers from surrounding areas.

Dior, a brand under the umbrella of Louis Vuitton’s parent company LVMH, also revealed plans to launch its men’s pre-fall collection in Hong Kong early next year at a venue that hasn’t yet been disclosed. This can be seen as a significant win for Hong Kong as it aims to rebuild its global image as a premier destination, especially after enforcing some of the strictest COVID-19 travel restrictions worldwide for several years.

In the past few months, authorities have tried to entice tourists back through the “Hello Hong Kong” campaign, which involved distributing 500,000 complimentary airline tickets. The Hong Kong Tourism Board hailed the Louis Vuitton event as a pivotal moment, “making fashion history”.

Louis Vuitton isn’t the first brand to showcase its endeavours in Hong Kong. In May 2021, Gucci launched its Gucci Garden Archetypes, an immersive multimedia exhibition showcasing the fashion house’s creative vision, marking its 100th anniversary celebrations. Amid the pandemic, the Italian fashion brand brought its centennial exhibition to multiple cities worldwide, including Hong Kong, offering fans the opportunity to engage with the brand’s 100-year legacy without the need for travel.

Could we witness Hong Kong stepping into the spotlight of the fashion world in the upcoming years, with other brands following suit? I truly hope so. It’s high time we witness more prominent fashion shows occurring beyond Western European cities such as Milan and Paris.

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