Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Showtime (2)

We're in the middle of Taipei 101's week of fashion shows now. Every afternoon, some of the brands that populate the glitzy shopping mall put on a show for the limited few on the 4th floor plaza, but if you haven't been invited, you can still get a view by hanging around on the 5th floor, even if the view is a whole lot less. In the meantime, the building's management has also been rethinking the layout, with some of the biggest names, such as Chanel, Fendi and Versace likely to move in.
Fashion celebrities visiting Taiwan usually get short shrift on Taiwan's half dozen TV news stations, who are more interested in South Korean soap stars and local entertainers - by lack of a better word - buying new luxury apartments. The newspapers though still pay attention, even if it's after the fact. The United Daily News recently profiled the visit by James Ferragamo, Salvatore's successor. The chief of women's accessories at the Italian house was in town to present the Fiera series of handbags. The bags indeed look fiery, with lots of confusing color patterns, mixed in with wild animals - a different one for each of the nine bags - and a prominent horsebit logo. Prices range from around 19,000 to 46,500 New Taiwan dollars, roughly US$ 550 to 1,500.
Turning to a local brand, you've probably seen the Carnival stores, they're usually rather drudgy, conservative places selling mostly dark blue and grey suits. A couple of years ago, the company was bought by Kenneth Yen, the main man at Taiwan's largest car group, Yulon. Yen is well-known for his smart tastes in clothing, and now he's finally bringing some of that class to his own company. Yen bought the local distribution rights for Giorgio Armani, and is now positioning Carnival for a younger and more stylish public than technocrats. And just like a real international brand, Carnival will also launch a 'flagship store,' by converting an existing store on Fuhsing South Road.


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