Spending power in China has risen steeply over the years, and with it, the appetites of Chinese shoppers and their taste for the beautiful and expensive. Any brand would be a fool to ignore the nation during its biggest national celebration – Chinese New Year.
For decades, brands have all but released small capsule collections to commemorate the occasion. The iteration has, until recently, been quite exhausted – often a meagre cycle of the 12 Chinese zodiac embellishing classic pieces, or a redressing of products in auspicious red.
This year, brands are going all out to fish China, with this Year of the Ox being particularly important since last year’s of the Rat was all at once largely cancelled across the world due to Covid-19. With the pandemic under control in China, Chinese people are expected to double down on their celebrations come February 12. If the first wave of revenge shopping is anything to go by, it’s going to be a big season of spending.
Dressing the Ox
With the Ox being a symbol of strength, determination and honesty in Chinese culture, the favoured zodiac has been used in its literal motif in the collections of Burberry, Dior, Fendi and more.
Burberry overlays strong-headed illustrations of the bull over its signature plaid in a series of shirts, blazers, sweaters and, of course, scarves. Rich red hues stand the collection out alongside select pieces in black and white. An ox-themed makeover also extends to its Arthur sneakers, pointed heels, caps and an AirPod Pro case.
Dior extends on the powerful creative dialogue between Kim Jones and the artist Shawn Stussy, who have come together to create a special motif celebrating the ox. Stussy lends his graffiti influence to the ox in a collection of jersey hoodies, reversible T-shirts, sweaters, oversized sweatshirts and a vintage-style bomber jacket, all embroidered in elegant statement.
Fendi, while staying away from the ox, brings on the red in in its collections, splashed with liberal use of chrysanthemums and peonies. The brand awashes its FF logo in festive shades of red and pink for its ready-to-wear clothes, bags, accessories and watches.
In the beauty department, even more auspicious limited edition releases are easily noted.
Estee Lauder has a collectible limited edition lacquered case of its Double Wear Pressed Powder featuring bejewelled face of the ox, complete with a velvety pouch to keep it safe. Lancome dresses its entire Advanced Genefique range in a ravishing red, all the more reason to celebrate this auspicious time of year with the gift of great skin. Cle De Peau Beaute has also transformed its flagship The Serum with a limited edition CNY bottle – one of regal red and gold.
Skincare and makeup brands aside, even technology lifestyle brand Dyson has festive special editions for its Supersonic hair dryer and Airwrap styler. They come in a limited edition festive red colourway with matching red presentation case.
All that glitters is auspicious
Watch and jewellery houses are equally in on the festivities with special Year of the Ox pieces.
Ulysse Nardin is celebrating with its Classico “Year of Ox” limited edition of 88 pieces. Vacheron Constantin also brings back its Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac—Year of the Ox, this time utilizing China’s paper-cutting technique jianzhi for its watches which come in two colours, limited to just 12 pieces each. Piaget depicts a muscular ox on the dial of its ultra-thin Altiplano, drawn, carved and coloured in its delicate cloisonne method.
On the jewellery front, Bvlgari brings its Serpenti to a festive party with precious rubellite eyes and its famed snakehead encrusted with diamonds in the case of its Serpenti Seduttori bangle in rose gold for a touch of red and glamorous sparkle to the Lunar New Year. The Serpenti Viper rose gold pendant with diamond pavé detailing flaunts a unique urban edge, perfect to welcome the Year of the Ox with boldness and self-confidence.