Victoria’s Secret is finally making a full landing in China with its pink and reflective mothership—er, flagship—stores in Shanghai and Chengdu, due to open officially on March 8. Based on the photos published by Timeout Shanghai, the Shanghai store is on-brand: a dimly-lit den of marble and mirrors, plus black and pink furniture (no word yet on if there’s a crystal staircase), all designed to send customers into a bralette-shopping hypnosis.
Victoria’s Secret first set its eyes on China in 2014, when it began opening Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Accessories (VSBA) stores. VSBA stores are smaller than the typical Victoria’s Secret and focus on selling items other than bras and lingerie, including perfume, accessories such as wallets, and everyday-style underwear. This is why the new flagship store has my fellow bra-wearers a-titter (pun intended)—this will be the first time we can lay our hands (heh, heh) on iconic Victoria’s Secret products in a store in China.
The slow and steady strategy employed by Victoria’s Secret’s has been noted as staking out the Chinese lingerie and luxury goods market, as well as to observe “local tastes and sizing,” Business of Fashion wrote last year. As TWOC’s Romance issue pointed out last year, China’s anti-corruption campaigns have possibly contributed to the increase in lingerie sales. Ostentatious luxury goods, such as Louis Vuitton bags, are being replaced by more discreet items, such as pricey lingerie sets. Nothing is more emblematic of this shift than the fact that the new Shanghai VS store is occupying the space which used to be a large Louis Vuitton.
Victoria’s Secret, like many other companies, is entering the Chinese market because of its sheer potential. SCMP reports that according to Euromonitor, the market for women’s undergarments in China is expected to have a retail value of 25 billion USD this year and grow to 33 billion USD by 2020. In China, VS has to deal with competition from both domestic brands, and foreign brands, such as mid-priced Etam and luxury La Perla and Agent Provocateur.
Commentators question whether China’s market can support (geddit?) the growing number of lingerie brands that are each trying to get a scanty piece (okay we’ll stop now), and even VS is planning another four stores by the end of the year. At least, for the foreseeable future, Chinese bra-wearers will be able to experience Victoria’s Secret locally, in all its overstimulating, naked glory.
Cover photo from Wikimedia Commons