Change is afoot at Hugo Boss, the high-end German apparel brand that recently held its Fall/Winter 2013 fashion show in glittering proceedings in Shanghai.
For one night last May, The Power Station of Art museum was transformed into the show’s venue.
Once the site of the Nanshi Power Plant built in 1897, it is now the first public museum of contemporary art in mainland China. Hours before the show, models could be seen smoking near the entrance while production staff arranged racks of fur-lined and fur-trimmed outerwear.
“We are a menswear brand and our core product is the suit,” said Dr. Gerrit Ruetzel, CEO and president of Hugo Boss (Asia Pacific). But, he added, they are prepared to “intensify the women’s range.”
On June 10, The New York Times ran an article, “A Newsy Morning for Fashion Designers,” by Eric Wilson. Wilson broke the news that designer Jason Wu has “added a role to his repertory” as the artistic designer of Boss women’s wear at Hugo Boss. His first collection for pre-Fall 2014 will be presented at New York Fashion Week next February.
The 30-year-old Taiwanese Canadian designer is probably best known for designing the dresses worn by First Lady Michelle Obama during the first and second inaugurations of US President Barack Obama. With Wu’s new post at Boss, one can look forward to a stronger women’s line for the primarily men’s brand.
But the Philippines won’t have the Hugo Boss ladies’ apparel or accessories anytime soon. Stores Specialists, Inc. (SSI), the exclusive distributor of the label in the country, has decided to concentrate on strengthening existing lines—Boss and Boss Green—and store renovations this year.
The Shangri-La Plaza branch will adopt the new store concept of Hugo Boss.
Boss’ move to a more distinct look in the women’s range could already be seen especially with the label’s movie-like campaign, “Shanghai Affairs,” featuring Taiwanese actress Lin Chi-ling and male supermodel Jon Kortajarena.
In a series of three-minute videos, the protagonists who do not know each other are shown having a suit or a dress measured, resting at one of the cafes, or getting ready for a night out on the town.
A serendipitous mix-up—his suit is delivered to her room while her dress is delivered to his—finally forces the two to meet.
“The two limited-edition outfits used in the movie will be debuted for the first time on the runway… and will be available for order online,” Ruetzel said.
The knee-length sheath with a well-placed ruffle might seem quietly classy, but its 24-carat gold (gold-plated) zipper running down the back is all flash. The dress will be limited to 100 pieces and will come with a special garment bag and hangtag.
At the show, Puerto Rican top model Joan Smalls walked the Boss runway wearing the dress to applause from the audience consisting of 950 fashion followers.
“Our core DNA is really apparel, but we intend to focus next on shoes and accessories,” Ruetzel said.
China is the third largest fashion market after the US and Germany, and Asian consumers are more fashion-forward.
“I feel that in Asia, the fashion sense is highest. Europe is more ‘classical’ while the US is very business suit-oriented.”
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