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Prada in Beijing

The Italian luxury label hosted a major event in China's capital celebrating art, fashion and music

Prada is, in many ways, at the forefront of fashion, constantly moving forward at the speed of light. But it isn't just her collections that Miucca Prada's label impress with. Refusing to geographiclly stagnate, Prada last Saturday night - just five days after its menswear fashion show in Milan - organised a major event at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum, revisited for the occasion by the New York multidisciplinary design studio 2x4. The night opened with a catwalk show featuring men and womenswear looks from the Spring/Summer 2011 collections, along with new pieces created especially for this event, in a setting designed by Rem Koolhaas’s OMA’s research unit, AMO. 

The event, which attracted a host of celebrities, among them also Chinese actors Gong Li, Maggie Cheung, Cecilia Cheung, Qing Xu and Geng Le e Liu Ye, Korean actor Ha Ji Won, and movie director Lu Chuan, was followed by a dinner party, live performances by Pet Shop Boys, authors of the quintessential Milanese 1986 hit 'Paninaro'. In a way the event represented a natural progression in Prada’s conquest of the Asian market. Last year the fashion house designed the uniforms worn by the Italian pavilion staff at the Shanghai Expo 2010 and selected looks from Prada’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection appeared in a play. Many luxury brands, such as Tod’s, Ermenegildo Zegna and Salvatore Ferragamo, are putting efforts into a stronger presence in China. Demand for Prada’s products is growing in Asia: the company recently saw a 51% surge in revenues in China and Prada expects its Asian sales to exceed Europe’s in the next 3 years.

The fashion house is also considering a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that will allow the company to develop its retail network, launch new production lines and ultimately turn into a trans-national corporation. If predictions regarding the Asian region joining the leaders of global stock markets within the next decade and China overtaking the US as a luxury market consumer are right, Miuccia & Co. are on their way to celebrate in 2013 a very special 100th anniversary.

The 'Special Order' line, which was created based on the looks of the Beijing show, is now available in select stores in Milan, Paris, London and New York to coincide with the fashion weeks in each city. Customers will be able to order pieces from the line by special request.