Nov 20, 2023
Louis Vuitton is set to hold its first ever fashion show in Hong Kong, in partnership with the billionaire Cheng family, with the harbor-front event set to give a glimpse at the city’s progress in reviving its status as a tourism and shopping hub.
The brand, part of billionaire Bernard Arnault’s LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE luxury empire, will unveil designer Pharrell Williams’ pre-fall men’s collection on Nov. 30. The show will take place at the iconic Avenue of Stars promenade and is in partnership with K11 Musea, part of New World Development Co.’s harbor-front project, the group said in a statement Monday.
The high-profile event comes as Hong Kong struggles to claw back its appeal as a global luxury shopping hub. Years of harsh Covid curbs battered its appeal for tourists, while visitors from mainland China — which account for about 80% of total inbound travel and are a core pillar of the city’s retail landscape — are more cautious about how they splash their cash amid economic headwinds at home.
Over the longer term, the city also faces more competition from nearby shopping and entertainment havens including gambling hub Macau and China’s tax-free island of Hainan. Hong Kong’s tourist arrivals in September had returned to 59% of 2018 levels — before the 2019 protests and then Covid curbs that hurt the city’s attractiveness.
The Hong Kong government has been trying to revive visitation for months, with little success. It’s doled out thousands of free plane tickets and set up night markets and other activities aimed at encouraging consumption.
Henry Cheng and his son Adrian Cheng, New World Development’s chairman and chief executive officer, respectively, are among the local tycoons enlisted by the government to help in those efforts. The firm has distributed vouchers, extended trading hours at its malls and organized weekend night markets at the Avenue of Stars, which the company operates until April next year. Modeled on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, the avenue stretches along Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour and is dotted with hand prints of celebrities including Michelle Yeoh.
In February, Louis Vuitton appointed Williams as menswear designer following the death of Virgil Abloh in 2021. The musician-turned-designer held his first show in Paris in June, a star-studded event attended by celebrities including Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.