The master passed away, and Pierre Cardin and his Chinese market

According to Agence France-Presse, French fashion designer Pierre Cardin died on Tuesday (29th) local time at the age of 98.

Pierre Cardin was born on July 2, 1922 in the suburbs of Venice, a water city in Italy, and is a well-known fashion designer. In 1945, at the age of 23, Pierre Cardin participated in the costume design of the film “Beauty and the Beast” in Paris, and his work was well received, and since then, his design talent has gradually been appreciated. In 1950, Pierre Cardin opened his own fashion design company, located on the rue Richepanse in Paris.

“Pierre Cardin was Hermès in the ’80s,” his father recalls. In the 15 years after China’s reform and opening up, Pierre Cardin was almost the irreplaceable number one luxury brand in the hearts of the people.

At the beginning of the reform and opening up, an Italian designer nearly 60 years old, relying on his own brand, completely subverted the national perception of fashion wearing gray short sleeves in summer and military coats in winter. That brand is Pierre Cardin.

However, with the continuous improvement of national purchasing power and the international luxury brand “chasing the deer in the Central Plains”, Pierre Cardin stepped down from the altar in this melee. After selling a series of operations such as product authorization and introducing agents, Pierre Cardin is almost no different from second-tier domestic brands in the hearts of the people, and the product quality has been exposed to unqualified products and counterfeiters have emerged one after another, which has also cast a shadow on the brand.

“Hermès” in the eighties and nineties

“When I bought Pierre Cardin, I thought the brand was fashionable and beautiful even in plastic bags.” Lin Zhaohui recalled the scene when he first bought Pierre Cardin, when Pierre Cardin seemed to be covered with a filter with memories.

It was Guilin in 1994, with low buildings with green tiles and white walls on the side of the cement road, two extended buses driving slowly, and bicycle bells jingling. As international luxury brands began to storm China, a mid-to-high-end brand store called Yongdeli opened in the slightly impoverished center of Guilin. Pierre Cardin, Kim Lilai… After stepping into the two-story Wyndley store, there were a variety of mid-to-high-end brands, and Lin Zhaohui chose the biggest name at the time, Pierre Cardin. After spending nearly 600 yuan on a Pierre Cardin cashmere sweater, the uniformly dressed waiter wrapped it in a brand-specific plastic bag and handed it to him.

After graduating from university, Lin Zhaohui stayed in Guilin as a tour guide in a state-owned travel agency, and his more than ten years of “friendship” with Pierre Cardin began.

On an ordinary working day in 1989, Lin Zhaohui’s leader, a deputy general manager of a travel agency, returned from a business trip abroad and wore a Pierre Cardin suit to work at the unit, and after a while, he was surrounded by a crowd and asked about the texture and price of the suit.

“We never thought that the texture of the suit could be so sophisticated and suitable,” Lin Zhaohui recalled, and he learned in the casual conversation between leaders and foreign tourists that Pierre Cardin was a foreign luxury brand, “At that time, a 2,000 yuan Pierre Cardin suit, in our hearts, was equivalent to Hermès now.”

In contrast, in Guilin in the 90s of last century, the salary of employees of non-tourism state-owned enterprises and institutions was generally about 300 yuan, the tuition fee of key kindergartens was 150 yuan / month, and a set of Shanghai brand-name suits was 130 yuan at the Guilin Friendship Store, and a bowl of Guilin rice noodles was 1 yuan.

However, as a tour guide in an international tourist city, Lin Zhaohui and his colleagues earn about five to ten times the monthly salary of employees of state-owned enterprises. Lin Zhaohui, who graduated from German major, was responsible for leading overseas tour groups: Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan… These overseas tourists will tip the tour guide a lot, counting the exchange rate, in the early 90s, Lin Zhaohui and his colleagues could earn two or three thousand yuan a month.

After successively purchasing imported Nissan sedans and “Big Brother”, since 1994, Lin Zhaohui has successively purchased Pierre Cardin’s suits, short sleeves, belts and even underwear underwear, becoming Pierre Cardin’s loyal customers for many years.

Today, Lin Zhaohui’s admiration for Pierre Cardin has long become rational with the dissipation of the brand’s halo, but this former luxury brand has changed to a more “people-friendly” form and lies quietly in the closet: every wet and cold winter in the south, Lin Zhaohui will still buy some Pierre Cardin’s thermal underwear and thick socks, “after buying for more than twenty years, this brand is like an old friend, always have feelings.”

Open up the Chinese market with fashion shows

Pierre Cardin, a high-end suit brand created by Dior’s former head of the suit department, why at the beginning of reform and opening up, Lin Zhaohui and other Chinese ordinary people became far more well-known than Dior?

In fact, it is also related to Pierre Cardin’s earliest entry into the Chinese market.

In 1979, the land of China had just woken up under the spring breeze of reform and opening up, and the streets and alleys were full of military-green and blue-gray clothes, and people were both yearning for and unfamiliar with fashion brands. After the founders foresaw the huge business opportunities in the country, Pierre Cardin decided to come to China to hold a fashion showcase.

According to Pierre Cardin’s official website, this unprecedented fashion show for China was held in 1979 at the National Culture Palace in Beijing. In the years that followed, Pierre Cardin held a number of events as if “getting the hang of it”.

In 1981, the first external fashion show was held in the Beijing Hotel; In 1983, the Pierre Cardin International Products Exhibition was held for the first time at the National Culture Palace in Beijing; In 1985, China’s largest fashion show was held at the Beijing Workers’ Stadium, which was watched by more than 10,000 people… In the first 10 years of reform and opening up, Pierre Cardin held exhibitions, fashion shows and even fundraising activities in China almost every year to open up the brand’s popularity and sales in China, and the fashion concept of Chinese people was quietly changed by Pierre Cardin.

Pierre Cardin’s formal foray into China came in 1988, the 10th anniversary of reform and opening up.

The year before, GFT International, Italy’s largest clothing seller and wholesaler, happened to establish Tianjin Jinda Garment Co., Ltd. together with Tianjin Textile Group and CITIC Group. In 1988, the company’s second year of existence, founder Pierre Cardin came to Tianjin and, according to the brand, “Mr. Pierre Cardin was pleasantly surprised to find that this was the best suit manufacturer he had seen outside of Europe.”

In that year, Pierre Cardin signed the largest agency contract in Chinese mainland – men’s clothing agency contract with GFT International in Italy. As a result, Tianjin Jinda Garment Co., Ltd. has become the earliest company in China to produce and sell Pierre Cardin men’s formal wear products, which is also the first formal professional production company authorized by Pierre Cardin in China.

Pierre Cardin’s fashion show didn’t stop. In 1990, Pierre Cardin held five large-scale fashion shows in Beijing and Tianjin. In 1993, Pierre Cardin participated in the first China International Fashion Fair and held a fashion show at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. At this time, although the events hosted by Pierre Cardin were still mainly concentrated in the Beijing and Tianjin areas, the brand’s reputation had spread to Guangdong, Guangxi and other southwestern coastal provinces.

The “highlight moment” of its market influence also occurred at this time, when then-President Jiang Zemin received Mr. Pierre Cardin in Zhongnanhai in 1995. However, soon after, the “leader” Pierre Cardin was involved in the chaotic era of major luxury brands “chasing deer in the Central Plains”.

From “self-luxury” to taking a back seat

At present, Pierre Cardin still has some young customers, among which Zhang Lei told reporters that Pierre Cardin with a full shoe size and good quality is his first choice to buy shoes, and Zhang Lei bought 8 pairs of Pierre Cardin shoes in 5 years.

Although the quality of the shoes is often praised by customers, Pierre Cardin’s main business is under controversy.

In December 2013, some consumers complained to the media about the quality problems in the Pierre Cardin women’s leather clothes they purchased, and issued relevant test reports showing that the tearing power of the leather was not up to standard. In August 2016, the Guangdong Provincial Administration for Industry and Commerce announced that the Pierre Cardin brand underwear produced by Qingdao Carden Nei Garment Co., Ltd. and distributed in Guangdong Province was unqualified in terms of fiber content and labeling.

Some insiders blame the marketing model for the decline in the quality of Pierre Cardin’s ready-to-wear. In July 2009, Sun Xiaofei, chairman of China Cardan Road Co., Ltd., bought the trademark rights of “Pierre Cardin” leather goods, knitwear, leather shoes and gloves in China for 37 million euros, and then authorized large-scale distribution through the industry network.

Since then, the sale of product licenses has become one of Pierre Cardin’s main marketing models in China.

At present, Pierre Cardin’s agents are all over the country, among them, the women’s formal wear purchased by customers is provided by an agent in Beijing, men’s formal wear, men’s and women’s socks are responsible for Tianjin 2 companies including Tianjin Jinda Garment Co., Ltd., men’s shirt agents are a Xiamen company, if in winter, customers want to buy down jackets, men’s down jackets are responsible for Guangzhou Zhongyuan Company, women’s down jackets are responsible for Jiangsu Yihao Company, men’s and women’s denim are responsible for Guangzhou Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Pierre Cardin’s chief representative in China said in 2013 that Pierre Cardin would “grant the rights to local companies for operation, which will produce and sell, we provide technical support, mainly design, designers will coach and communicate with agents, and provide design drawings twice a year.” ”

Industry insiders said that Pierre Cardin basically adopts the brand authorization model in the Chinese market, and the consequence of this is that due to the uneven level of customers, product quality is difficult to guarantee, which in turn makes the brand’s high-end image seriously damaged.

“In secondary and tertiary cities across the country, counterfeiters are particularly rampant, their stores are more than the original, and the sales volume is larger than the original,” Pierre Cardin brand said on the official website, counterfeiters not only illegally seized a large number of markets, especially their poor quality has caused irreparable damage to the reputation of Pierre Cardin’s brand.

Influenced by the dual influence of marketing models and counterfeiters, unlike in the early days of reform and opening up, this luxury brand, which was once popular throughout the country, has now become a “second-tier domestic brand” in the eyes of young people. And its “latecomers” have now consolidated the foundation and grown into a strong opponent.

At that time, as Pierre Cardin opened up the Chinese market to make a profit, major luxury brands entered China to try to get a piece of the pie. In 1990, Cartier settled in China; In 1992, Louis Vuitton opened its first branch in China in Beijing, and Dunhill also entered China; In 1996, Hermès and Gucci came to the scene. Today, the timing dividend obtained by Pierre Cardin from deploying the Chinese market more than a decade in advance has almost been exhausted.

Beijing News shell financial reporter Lin Zi Editors Chen Li Wang Hongliang Yue Caizhou

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