Courrèges has opened an e-commerce store on Alibaba Group’s business-to-consumer marketplace Tmall, part of its international push to attract digitally native Gen Z fashionistas to the brand.
Fashion-forward Courrèges shot to fame in the 1960s with its short hemlines, A-line silhouettes, and white vinyl jackets that captured the Swinging Sixties zeitgeist. The brand is now re-editing many of those classics with a modern twist.
A digital-first strategy in China helps brands reach a new generation of e-commerce savvy shoppers comfortable making purchases on their mobile phones. Going digital also lets brands get to know a market and consumers’ tastes before making big investments in physical stores.
China is the world’s largest e-commerce market, and online shopping continues to take a larger share of total retail sales. Courrèges is keen to build a community among this growing band of digital shoppers by offering them products at a price point geared towards a younger audience.
“We can feel a strong appetite for Courrèges, particularly from the younger generation,” Courrèges’s CEO Adrien Da Maia said in a statement.
Courrèges’s market entry has been highly tailored to capture the attention of its target younger audience.
While Alibaba’s consumer-focused businesses in China served over 1 billion consumers last year, catering to a broad range of demographics and price points, tactically, it chose to open its first official e-commerce store on the holding company’s dedicated platform for luxury and premium brands, Tmall Luxury Pavilion.
Millennials, born between 1980 and 1995, generate 67% of the GMV over Tmall Luxury Pavilion, while Zoomers born between 1996 and 2010 represent over 17%, according to a report published last year.
Gen-Z users represent the fastest-growing cohort active on Tmall Luxury Pavilion, and these digital natives made nearly 40% of the purchases on the platform during China’s largest shopping festival, 11.11 also known as Singles Day, in November.
Tmall Luxury Pavilion, part of Alibaba holding company’s Taobao & Tmall business, has been rolling out a raft of features to keep younger generations engaged, such as augmented reality fashion shows, digital avatars and virtual reality try-ons.
“Taobao & Tmall platform has a large number of luxury consumers with a high degree of digitalization, who pursue novelty and uniqueness, and are willing to engage in deep interactions with brands,” Janet Wang, Tmall Luxury Pavilion’s General Manager said.
Courrèges launched on Tmall Luxury Pavilion ahead of Chinese Valentine’s Day, locally known as the Qixi Festival, when romantics ply their paramour with gifts. Luxury brands have long organized marketing campaigns around such celebrations, including limited editions of accessories.
Through Tmall’s mobile platform or via the dedicated website, aficionados of the brand can buy a selection of the Fall/Winter 2023 pre-collection, along with carry-over styles, such as the Reedition collection.
For younger consumers, fragrances can be an entry point for luxury brands and ideal as gifts. Retailer Sephora said in June that it had launched a futuristic store on East Nanjing Road in Shanghai and among the products on display was a Courrèges’ perfume.
Rebirth of a Brand
A broader reimagining of the brand drives the energy around Courrèges’s China expansion.
Apart from its China debut, Courrèges has opened stores in Paris and New York in recent years. The investments are not entirely unrelated; as outbound tourism recovers from the pandemic, brand recognition in China could lead to higher footfall in physical stores around the world’s fashion capitals.
Founded in 1961 by André Courrèges and his wife Coqueline, the Courrèges house revolutionized the world of fashion with designs such as its white go-go boots and mini skirts.
The label has remained part of popular culture since. Martin Scorsese’s 1995 Las Vegas crime epic Casino shone a spotlight on the brand when Sharon Stone’s character Ginger strutted around an airport in a Courrèges electric blue jacket.
When Artémis, the investment branch of the Pinault family founded in 1992 by François Pinault, bought the Courrèges shares it did not already own in 2018, the acquisition injected new vigor into the brand.
Shortly after the acquisition, Da Maia took the company’s helm as CEO in 2020, and then Nicolas Di Felice joined to lead the house’s artistic direction. Di Felice, who previously worked at Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton, introduced a new logo, revamped the brand’s visual identity, and created collections that paid homage to the brand’s iconic designs while also experimenting with new materials and silhouettes.
Worn by celebrities including Adele, Kylie Jenner and Marc Jacobs, Courrèges has once again become a sought-after brand among fashion enthusiasts while remaining true to its roots and bringing the brand to new audiences.
For more news on luxury in China, click here