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					                                                                                               Publication: The Business Times, p 32
                                                                                               Date: 24 August 2007

                          SMU                                                                  Headline: Limited editions go east

 Limited                                                                                                                                                                                                           east
Luxury brands produced in scarcer numbers do pay off nicely but for a variety of reasons, reports MELISSA LWEE
               HAT luxury brands create limited                                                                                                                                                                    edition product, they hope that the product
               edition products or collections is                                                                                                                                                                  will become a collectible and when it does
               nothing new, but as testament to                                                                                                                                                                    that is when hype is created."
               the buying power of the Asian                                                                                                                                                                          While Prof Davis agrees, he believes that
               consumer, these same brands are                                                                                                                                                                     limited edition products inspire curiosity in-
               creating such products specifical-                                                                                                                                                                  stead.
               ly for these markets.                                                                                                                                                                                  He says: "Limited edition products, when
                   In recent years, Asian markets                                                                                                                                                                  executed well, don't create 'hype' - they in-
 - particularly Japan, Hong Kong and China -                                                                                                                                                                       spire intense curiosity and higher demand so
 have been the hot spots picked by luxury                                                                                                                                                                          yes, limited edition products benefit luxury
 brands to launch exclusive limited edition                                                                                                                                                                    1   brands. For a company to succeed,it mvct ,-Fa-

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I .""
 products.                                                                                                                                                                                                         ate awareness, convert interested consumers
     Leading the pack are the likes of Louis Vuit-                                                                                                                                                                 to buyers, and develop loyalty from those buy-
 ton and Botteea Venetta. In December 2005.                                                                                                                                                                        GI>.
 Louis ~uittonielebrated re-opening of its
                             the                                                                                                                                                                                      For many luxury brands, it is also a matter
 Landmark store in Hong Kong by creating the                                                                                                                                                                       of positioning, speaking to the consumers
 mask charm. In 2006, it celebrated the                                                                                                                                                                            within a target industry and connecting with
 re-opening of the Taipei LV Building store
 with a new pineapple charm, while launching                                                                                                                                                                       the country in question.
 the kite charm to commemorate the re-open-                                                                                                                                                                           At Hermes, for example, 'The Rhythm of
 ing of the Kuala Lumpur Starhill store.                                                                                                                                                                           China" scarf was designed for Hermes by Chi-
     Just this year alone, Italian leather goods                                                                                                                                                                   nese artist D i g Yi and will be sold exclusively
 house Bottega Venetta presented three such                                                                                                                                                                        by Hermes China, in conjunction with its "A
 initiatives. In April, it was the Ginza Pyramid,                                                                                                                                                                  Tale of S i exhibition in the 2007 falVwinter
 an urbane hobo bag designed specially for Ja-                                                                                                                                                                     season.
 pan. In May, 250 limited edition pieces of the
 Hong Kong Bag were made available to cele-                                                                                                                                                                        Made in China
 brate the opening of a flagship store in Hong                                                                                                                                                                     Says Hermes artistic director Pierre-Alexis Du-
 Kong's Harbour City. This October, it will in-                                                                                                                                                                    mas: 'This exhibitionis clearly not a presenta-
 troduce 250 pieces of the Landmark Bag at                                                                                                                                                                         tion of our 2007 collection. Through its vari-
 the opening of a new flagship store at Hong                                                                                                                                                                       ous settings, it is a visual experience and a dis-
 Kong's prestigious Landmark Center.                                                                                                                                                                               covery of the world of printed silk at Hermes.
     "The energy and confidence of Hong Kong                                                                                                                                                                            "Today, China is a market in full growth.
 are remarkable," says Bottega Venetta crea-
 tive director Tomas Maier on why they decid-                                                                                                                                                                      By the end of this year, we will have nine
 ed to pay homage to Hong Kong through                                                                                                                                                                             stores in this country. It was therefore impor-
 these bags.                                                                                                                                                                                                       tant for us to unveil our House. To show how
     "For me, the tension between past and fu-                                                                                                                                                                     we've developed a technique and a syntax
 ture, between local tradition and global ambi-                                                                                                                                                                    that are proper to the House using a fibre na-
 tion. is inspiring. It's a city that forces you to                                                                                                                                                                tive to this country. It reflects Hermes's open-
 expand your sense of what's relevant, what's                                                                                                                                                                      ness to exchange."
 beautiful and what's personal. We love to be                                                                                                                                                                           Meanwhile, retail consultant with Glam-
 able to offer a new bag when we open a store                                                                                                                                                                      our Inc Cary Cheng emphasises that limited
 and, in this case, I hope the qualities of rele-                                                                                                                                                                  edition products create a new dimension to
 vance, beauty and individuality are what a                                                                                                                                                                         one's shopping experience.
 woman perceives when she sees it."                                                                                                                                                                                     "Luxury products are accessible every-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   where," he says. "But when you create special
 Many good, few better                                                                                                                                                                                              limited edition products for a particular coun-
 Other labels that have presented such initia-                                                                                                                                                                     try, it helps to incite travellers to buy from
 tives include: Loewe, which re-worked the                                                                                                                                                                          that specific country, helping to set the coun-
 Amazona bag to create a limited edition ver-                                                                                                                                                                       tries apart. Just like how people travel all over
 sion produced mainly for China to be sold in                                                                                                                                                                       the world to buy Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts from
 China, Hong Kong and Taiwan; Gucci with a                                                                                                                                                                          different countries - luxury brand shoppers
 version of The Indy Bag just for Japan; and Ce-                                                                                                                                                                    are looking for stufFthat they cannot get back
 line, which produced a limited edition collec-                                                                                                                                                                     home."
 tion of its "Bittersweet" bag bearing South Ko-                                                                                                                                                                        Still, he adds that how well the limited edi-
 rean actress Song Hye Kyo's handwritten sig-
 nature name just for Asia.                                                                                                                                                                                         tion products sell is still dependant on the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    marketing, something Mr Benjamin believes
    In addition, Dior created its own range - in-
 cluding 130 limited edition washed style                                                                                                                                                                           in wholeheartedly.
                                                         Exclusive products: 1.Fann Wong with a made-to-onler Burberry                     A                                                                            He says: "If it's for the sake of making it
 jeans and 100 limited edition silver Dior Hom-          Manor Bag; 2. Louis Vuitton'smask charm; 3. Cartier's Vanda Miss
 me "Bee" pendants with the engraving of "Pe-                                                                                                                                                                       limited edition, what's the point, since it's just
                                                         Joaguim brooch; 4. Gucci's Aoyama Indy Bag; 5. Bottega Venetta's              ,                                                                            another product. But if it's really a collectible
 king Road 2006" just to celebrate the launch
 of Dior Homme's store opening on Hong                   Landmark Bag; 6. Club 21'sArmani Casa owe; 7.Hennes' 'The                                                                                                  that marks an event, I tell you, everybody
 Kong's Peking Road.                                     Rhythm of China'sear$ tutd 8. Bulgari's Doppio Tondo bracelet                                                                                              would want one."
    On Peddar, which is helmed by the Peddar                                                                                                                                                                            True enough, when Miu Miu brought into
 Group in Hong Kong, even managed to score                                                                                                                                                                          Hong Kong 100 limited edition pink metal lux
 two exclusive ballerina flat deals with Chloe        cused markets to reinforce that those custom-        erry launched the made-to-order Burberry             ronment charity auction where 35 signed and         bags for the opening of its Peking Road store
 and Marc Jacobs.                                     ers are special."                                    Manor Bags that was a worldwide exclusive            one-of-a-kind fashion articles contributed by       this year, all 100 pieces were sold out on open-
     Singapore Management University market-             FJ Benjamin CEO Douglas Benjamin                  in Singapore. Customers could personalise            illustrious designers such as Giorgio Armani,       ing day.
 ing professor John Davis is not surprised that       agrees. "Any material you read will tell you         their bags with their initials embossed in gold      Paul Smith and Marc Jacobs will he offered on            "When the brand has a story to tell, it
 Asia has become an area of focus.                    that Asia has become a driving force. By my          on the interior label of their bags.                 eBay for bidding to raise funds for the various      makes the product worth buying," Mr Ben-
     He says: "Luxury brands have been impor-         estimation, roughly about 50 per cent of the             Just a few weeks ago, Bulgari similarly cel-     environmental charities supported by the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    jamin says resolutely.
 tant in Asia for many years, even prior to the       luxury consumers are from Asia. For some of          ebrated the opening of its accessories store in      nine different Club 21 global offices.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Try telling that to local stylist Karen Ng
 ascendance of Chiia and India. The luxury in-        the major brands, it's even up to 60 to 70 per       Singapore, a first in the region, hy launching           According to industry players, these initia-     who is a big fan of limited edition products
 dustry is US$80 to US$100 billion in size and        cent.                                                50 limited edition Elettra bags and 200 pieces       tives are seldom profit-driven. Most of them
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     but does not give two hoots about the story be-
 more than 50 per cent of it comes from pur-             "When you count all the Asian markets             of the Doppio Tondo bracelet that can only be        are launched to either create hype or build
                                                      and the Asian tourists shopping in Europe            found exclusively in Singapore at its Paragon        customer loyalty.                                    hind them.
 chases by Asian consumers, so it has been                                                                                                                                                                               "If it's to commemorate something, that
 and will continue to be a substantial and grow-      and America, I think it is a big part of the husi-   store. In September, to commemorate Carti-               Mr Benjamin says: "If you think about it, if
                                                      ness."                                               er's brand new boutique concept, 50 limited          these products are really limited, say 100 piec-                          ih
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     has nothing to do w t me," she says. "To me,
 ing business in this region, especially with                                                                                                                                                                        the more exclusive, the fewer the pieces, the
 new wealth pouring out of key markets like              Although the popularity of Hong Kong. Ja-         edition Vanda Miss Joaquim brooches will be          es out of the thousands of bags that the big
 China, India, Vietnam and Thailand.                  pan and China with luxury brands should              sold exclusively in Singapore.                       brands sell, it's really only a few per cent of      better. As consumers, it helps for us to know
     "Just a s these countries are growing            come as no surprise, it may be news to some              But even if it's not a specially designed col-   the total profits from the sale of bags as a         that the product was produced in limited
 wealthier, the consumers within want to be           that Singapore is not far behind in terms of lo-     lection, it could also he a specially signed one.    whole so it can't he about making a profit. A        quantities- it gives us a sense of assurance as
 treated as unique. Therefore, luxury brands          cation choice.                                       For its 35th anniversary, local luxury retailer      lot of it is hype. Hype is what business and re-     to what we are paying for.
 are offering 'Limited Edition' products in fo-          Last year, for its 150th anniversary, Burb-       Club 21 will conduct the Fashion for the Envi-       tail are about. When a brand creates a limited           "It's also a definite conversation piece.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     When you buy something that's different and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     very appealing, people will defmitely ask you
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     about it and talk about how prestigious it is to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     own one such item. Regardless of whether
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     that's good or bad, it makes me feel good and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     that's all that matters."

Source: The Business Times O Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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