5.30pm to 7.30pm
This talk will offer a critical analysis of the relaunch of an Italian designer in China, Romeo Gigli. Known for his ethereal fashion creations, Gigli was one of the most interesting brands emerging in Italy in the 1990s. Due to the disagreement with his associates, Gigli acted as the artistic director of Gigli Spa, but finally retired in 2004. He resurfaced with a new collaboration with an Asian, Hong Kong-based luxury giant Joyce in 2012. Before making its official launch at Joyce boutiques, the Joyce by Romeo Gigli collection was launched on the store’s website. The talk draws on a primary research concerning this new brand. Simona will discuss whether Romeo Gigli is a case of an Italian brand “bought” by the Chinese – as stereotypically these commercial operations are labelled in Europe, or if his case could rather represent an interesting new trajectory for Western designers in China. The new global luxury map in Asia is not a simple translation of the European one, i.e. Western brands expanding their network in Asia. Rather it is a complex new cultural construct which also brings about new ambivalences between Hong Kong and Mainland China concerning fashion identities. Furthermore, the talk will address the complexity and constantly shifting meanings of “made in China” in present day global fashion.
Simona Segre Reinach is cultural anthropologist and Associate Professor of Fashion Studies at the University of Bologna. She has written extensively on fashion from a global perspective. Simona is member of the Editorial Board of Fashion Theory, The International Journal of Fashion Studies and the Critical Studies on Fashion and Beauty. She has conducted field-work in China on Sino-Italian joint ventures contributing to a collaborative study in Cultural Anthropology. In Italy she authored: Mode in Italy. Una lettura antropologica (Guerini 1999), La moda. Un’introduzione (Laterza 2005 and 2010), Orientalismi. La moda nel mercato globale (Meltemi 2006) and Un mondo di mode (Laterza 2011). Simona has co-edited: Making Fashion in Multiple Chinas (with Wessie Ling, I.B. Tauris, forthcoming) and Exhibit! (with Luca Marchetti, Bruno Mondadori, forthcoming).
Simona is also involved in Fashion Curation Studies. She curated the exhibition 80s-90s Facing Beauties. Italian Fashion and Japanese Fashion at a Glance (Museo della città, Rimini, 2013) and is now working on a new exhibition project at the Venaria Reale (Turin, Spring 2017).
Image caption: Romeo Gigli: 80s-90s Facing Beauties, Rimini, Museo della Città, 2013
Photo: Simona Segre Reinach