(22 Sep 1996) French/Mandarin

Top international labels and rising Chinese designers hit the catwalks in Shanghai this weekend.

China’s growing economy has created new wealth and new demand for high fashion.

While the western designers present attracted the most attention, the Chinese offerings showed both increasing market savvy and a better understanding of local taste.

The Shanghai International Fashion fair got underway Friday with one the top ten french grand couturier Pierre Balmain.

Top designers have been attracted to China as the world’s fastest growing economy has created new demand for the finer things in life.

On the programme of this fashion week in Shanghai were also big names like Lapidus and Nina Ricci.

But for the french house of Pierre Balmain this was the first time to display some of his finest creation in China.

Pierre Balmain style is already very successful in Asia especially in Japan but also in South East Asia so Shanghai was just next door.

And no doubt that glamorous style can be successful among Chinese
young women as well.

Visiting China for the second time in 15 years was Oscar de La Renta, woman clothes designer for Pierre Balmain collection.

The Dominican born designer, educated in Spain learnt most of his skill at the prestigious french house of Lanvin in the late 60’s and 70’s.

Best example of this is this yellow womansuit, perfect example of french ultra-classic style.

Oscar de La Renta said his styles, though imported, can suit Chinese women.

I think we can bring a lot with our style here because the Chinese woman has become today a modern woman who has a great sense of elegance and a great sense of femininity.
SUPER CAPTION: Oscar de La Renta, Pierre Balmain, Designer

Among the few foreign models present, Lawrence Treil, Pierre Balmain top model of this year, had made the trip to Shanghai.

Despite the huge price of his dress, between 10 000 and 40 000 US dollars, Pierre Balmain house is confident that soon, more and more Chinese women will be able to afford the french style.

Oscar de La Renta said also that exchange with young Chinese designer could also be very interesting.

With a 400 millions US dollars of business sales worldwide, the French house realised that it should be present on the Chinese market.

Pierre Balmain announced plans to open a flagship store in the centre of Shanghai but also shows interest in the local production of high quality silk printing.

But there was little or nothing french about the designs on offer at the Chinese show next door presenting the trend in China for spring and summer 1997.

Using different materials but strongly dictated by colours the Chinese designs reflected an active style directed to a younger clientele.

Hold for the second time, the shows displays the works of more than 50 young Chinese designers in four different themes : music notes at the frontier, Metropolis melody, Relaxing rhythm, Cadenza…

Local designers and fashion industry officials said they need to revive Shanghai tradition of fashion, a city once called the “Paris of the Far East” due to the elegance of his residents.

SOUNDBITE: (Mandarin)
Now with the opening situation we have in China, Shanghai fashion industry should be connected to the international circle and join, participate in the international competitions. Organising this show today is a good opportunity for us to present our fashions products to the outside world and let them know about us.
SUPER CAPTION: RONG Xia Xian, Fashion show art director

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