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Global Brands Descend on Shanghai for Import Expo

The Dior booth at CIIE is decorated with fresh roses and displays a gown designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri. Christian Dior
The Dior booth at CIIE is decorated with fresh roses and displays a gown designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri. Christian Dior (KongLei)

The fourth annual China International Import Expo (CIIE) has kicked off in Shanghai with dozens of global fashion, beauty and luxury brands participating. Many have invested significant amounts to build ornate pavilions, in part to demonstrate their commitment to the world’s largest fashion and luxury market. The expo runs through Nov. 10.

President Xi Jinping gave an opening address via video link on Thursday evening in which he pledged to further expand imports and “pursue balanced development of trade.”

“We will not change our resolve to open wider at a high standard; we will not change our determination to share development opportunities with the rest of the world; and we will not change our commitment to an economic globalisation that is more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all,” Xi said during the speech.

In the beauty hall of the expo, L’Oreal Group boasts the largest pavilion. As part of its CIIE offering, the beauty conglomerate is debuting five new brands in China, Carita, Mugler, Thayers, Takami and IT Cosmetics. Also on show was the high tech YSL Rouge Sur Mesure “intelligent lipstick printer”, a device consumers can use to “print” their own personal lip colours, which is making its Asian market debut in China.

“The annual CIIE is an important moment to share opportunities and the future, as well as to inject new momentum into all walks of life through the dialogue between China and the world,” Fabrice Megarbane, president of L’Oréal for the North Asia Zone and chief executive of L’Oréal China, said.

The LVMH Group pavilion is designed to evoke the architectural elements of the iconic La Samaritaine department store in Paris, which reopened earlier this year following a seven-year renovation. Inside, the Dior section is surrounded by walls of fresh roses and displays a gown from Maria Grazia Chiuri’s most recent Autumn/Winter women’s ready-to-wear collection.

Louis Vuitton’s section has sustainability as its focus and said the carbon footprint from its CIIE contributions was being offset via a China-based reforestation project. On display are several upcycled products designed by menswear artistic director, Virgil Abloh, including a pair of LV Trainers and a Keepall bag in silver monogrammed felt.

Close by, within the Kering pavilion, Gucci’s booth highlights its historical heritage through its classic bamboo bag, reappeared in the Aria collection and featuring the same silhouette as the original incarnation from 1947.

Elsewhere, Uniqlo also thought big with its CIIE booth, a 1,000-square-metre exhibition entitled “Tomorrow Wonderland”. Visitors to the booth are greeted by a giant 2.5-metre 3D knit dress and the exhibition showcasing different innovations and technologies behind the brand’s most iconic products.

Learn more:

Luxury Giants Play Both Sides in the US-China Trade War

LVMH executives, along with their Kering counterparts, are rubbing shoulders with China’s business and political elite including President Xi Jinping. How long can they maintain their delicate balancing act?

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