Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Beijing Burberry

This evening I went to the 'mother of all parties' (as The Telegraph described it), to celebrate the opening of Burberry's flagship store in Beijing. Ingeniously they put it on at Beijing Television Centre. No expense was spared: the route from the entrance to the stage area was completely transformed into a hall of mirrors, video walls of London skyline and matt black. Once inside, a huge club-like environment had been created complete with very British music ranging from The Jam to Dusty Springfield.
Then the show started. First off: some very cool floor-to-ceiling projections of real & animated catwalks. Then a white curtain raised to reveal a black stage with 8 Burberry-clad models standing in line at the back of it. They stood for a while then walked off stage left, then came back on again stage right, again in perfect formation. It was only after a few minutes that I realised the whole thing was virtual, confirmed when halfway across the stage each model 'vapourised' into clouds of silver dust. By the end of it they were mixing live and virtual. Incredibly impressive. Then the back curtain went up to reveal Keane who performed a 40-minute set, their first gig in China. I'm not a fan so this was a bit retro after the virtual extravaganza beforehand, but I guess that was the Burberry point: cutting edge + tradition (of sorts). You can see a 2-minute snippet of the event here.

It must have cost a fortune. But it's probably worth it to Burberry who now have 60 shops in 30 cities. Spending on luxury goods in China is forecast to grow from £6.2bn in 2009 to £17bn by 2015, and Burberry wants a big chunk of that.

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