Victoria’s Secret has made no secret of its mission to woo Chinese shoppers. In 2016, the US lingerie brand used an oriental theme at its annual fashion show to pay homage to traditional Chinese culture. It put a record four Chinese models on the runway as well.
When Victoria’s Secret opened its flagship store in Shanghai in February, it also sent ‘Angels’ like Josephine Skriver, Alessandra Ambrosio and Sui He to celebrate the launch. And this month Victoria’s Secret will step up the charm offensive by hosting its famed fashion show in China for the first time. Another of its records will be shattered as six Chinese models parade down the world’s most watched runway this time round.
The event is scheduled to take place in Shanghai on November 28th, with tickets to the glamorous show traditionally by invitation only. In past shows most of the audience were celebrities, models, photographers, reporters and fashion bloggers. The lingerie brand also offers tickets to those who make charitable contributions to pre-approved non-profit organisations. However, the upcoming Shanghai event has become a big hit amongst Chinese scalpers – with tickets going up for sale on various e-commerce platforms.
On Rayli.com.cn, a leading fashion website, a seller has offered a pair of tickets that include the fashion show, backstage access and after-party entry for Rmb168,000 ($25,500).
Another seller has structured a package tour from Shenzhen to Shanghai for three days and two nights – it includes round-trip business class tickets and a ticket to the show. The cost: Rmb180,000 per person.
Local media wonders whether some of these tickets are fakes. But even if they’re authentic, buyers should beware because security will be very tight (to ensure no one tries to steal the Fantasy Bra, which is adorned with precious gems, for example). This means all tickets are reserved under the original invitee’s name. So even those who purchase genuine tickets online may still have problems getting in on the night.
The lingerie brand has a lot riding on the China market. In May of this year, L Brand, which owns Victoria’s Secret, reported a drop in first quarter net sales to $2.4 billion from $2.6 billion the year before. Net income also fell 38% from the year before to $941 million.
Overall sales of lingerie in China nearly doubled from $9 billion in 2010 to $17.9 billion in 2015, according to the Global Times, illustrating the importance of the sector.
However, Victoria’s Secret’s road to conquering the China market has been bumpy. In September, Shanghai customs seized a shipment of its branded underwear claiming it contained excess levels of the toxic chemical formaldehyde.
Exposure to formaldehyde has been proven to cause a range of adverse health conditions like skin rashes, chest pains, bronchitis and lung damage, says the South China Morning Post.
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