What is your customer asking for right now?
In women’s wear, our female customers are looking for more investment and timeless pieces. For instance, we’ve seen strong performance from key items like the tweed jacket, across different brands and price points from The Row for example. We are seeing our customers respond well to special, novelty items and exclusive capsules to update and compliment their wardrobe such as the recent Balmain Exclusive 520 Capsule to sacai x kaws capsule collections. At the same time, our customers are moving more into smart causal wear rather than traditional or formal work wear. They are looking for more versatile dressing options, suitable for more occasions from day to night. There have not been as many requests for occasion wear due to social restrictions on group gatherings but we have seen a pick-up in dress sales as customers are looking for options to look effortlessly chic.
For men’s wear, our luxury consumers have shifted to the buy-now, wear-now mentality to fit their current lifestyle. As travel has been generally halted, our customers tend to buy more towards weather friendly products. This pattern is seen across all price points and brands, ranging from easy to wear lightweight designer pieces from Bottega Veneta and Celine, luxury jerseys from Brunello Cucinelli, and everyday essentials such as James Perse and Kitsune. This same trend applies with more casual sportswear pieces across these different types of brands, as customers have incorporated more relaxed lifestyle items like elevated t-shirts and refined joggers into their wardrobe. With the tailored inspired looks in AW21, we also see the resurgence of dressing up and wearing more sophisticated, tailored influenced pieces but in a much more casual way. With that said, our fashion enthusiasts are still shopping at Lane Crawford for the latest and greatest fashion pieces – our customers look for special pieces such as Raf Simons’ first runway collection for Prada, the reintroduction of The Row menswear, and Amiri.
What are the challenges of Spring 2022 in terms of buying?
The main challenge with virtual buying is not being able to see the product in person – to touch and feel the fabrications. It’s hard to see the true colour and weight of garments virtually, no matter the resolution of images. There is an organic process that takes place in the showroom like racking that is hard to replicate on a screen.
What are you missing about physical shows?
The thing I miss the most about shows and showrooms in general are getting to meet the people! Seeing our vendors in person, having a genuine conversation, and even having a coffee or meal creates a form of relationship that cannot be replicated on a video call. These relationships are what our businesses are built on, and we very much look forward to building these relationships again. We also miss the buzz, and the ambiance of the shows.
What collection or brand are you most excited about?
We were most excited about watching Balmain celebrate its 10-year anniversary with Olivier Rousteing. His showcase of series of timeless, elegant pieces – from tailoring to cut out dresses with highlight of gold hardware and sparkles – was breathtaking.