Prada Hosts Physical Event Post Shanghai Lockdown, a First Among Peers

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SHANGHAI Prada became the first luxury brand to host a physical event in Shanghai after the city gradually reopens from a two-month lockdown.

Local editors, influencers and VIPs huddled around a screening room in Prada Rong Zhai, the brand’s restored mansion in downtown Shanghai, as the brand replayed its spring 2023 Prada men’s collection from Milan.

The event came three weeks after the city lifted citywide lockdown measures. Shanghai still operates with a zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19. The financial hub reported 13 cases on Sunday. Shops can operate at 75 percent capacity while restaurant dining remains off limits.

According to guests at the screening, the brand invited 80 people to the event.

“It was a ‘less is more’ gathering,” said the Shanghai-based influencer Leaf Greener. “There were drinks and finger food offered after the screening, it was simple but exquisite nonetheless,” she said.

“It’s quite impressive for a brand willing to host a proper event without any celebrities present, thus no real media exposure,” said Stefan Huang, a Prada VIP customer.

Prada hosted a reception for 180 guests to watch the show at Rong Zhai mansion in Shanghai

In 2020, Prada hosted a reception for 180 guests to watch the show at Rong Zhai mansion in Shanghai. Courtesy

The event was a stripped-down version of its usual screening event, often incorporating Milan show setup details designed by OMA. Prada hosted its first screening event in Shanghai in October 2020 for Raf Simon’s debut season as co-creative director, with 180 guests in attendance.

The brand doubled down on China for the spring 2022 season, by putting on simultaneous shows in Milan and Shanghai, presenting exactly the same collection shown on different models and in complementary sets.

Brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel also started hosting fashion show screening sessions in major cities more than two years ago when travel restrictions hindered editors and VIPs from traveling from China to Milan or Paris. These events are usually accompanied by celebrity photo calls, cocktail receptions, seated dinners and comprehensive digital campaigns across all social media channels for record-breaking results.

According to local PR agencies, most luxury players have no plans to host offline screening events for the spring 2023 edition of menswear fashion week. Still, many have tentative plans to host physical events in July.

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