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Burberry storms Asia with digital leap

Celebrating its presence in luxury-sensitive Beijing, the label made all the right noises as it launched its 12,500-squarefoot flagship store in Beijing's business district.

Prachi Bhuchar        Last Updated: April 28, 2011  | 17:26 IST

The Chinese love the idea of luxury, and the very wealthy in China love to be feted. The red carpet was in place, the paparazzi were in full attendance and Beijing's most powerful and fashionable obliged. A glittering piece of Britain rolled out live on Chinese social media networks and those who were not invited to the VIP event, stood by and watched the drama unfold at the retail theatre of British luxury brand, Burberry.

Celebrating its presence in luxury-sensitive Beijing, the label made all the right noises as it launched its 12,500-squarefoot flagship store in Beijing's business district. The event was ostensibly to launch its biggest store in Asia, but analysts say, it was more of a shiny-disco-balls kind of jamboree to stamp brand Burberry in the hearts and minds of brand-hungry China. It was the biggest and most glamorous event the 155-year-old brand has ever held.

The event saw more than 1,000 of Beijing's biggest names jostle for space in a television studio, the size of half a football field. Champagne flutes clinked in the dark and air kissing stood suspended as Burberry unveiled its Autumn-Winter 2011 look in a stunning interplay of technology, colour and sound. Steve Jobs would have been ecstatic as over 800 iPhones went up collectively; eager invitees craning their necks to click or record a magical Burberry moment.

Beijing's glitterati were immersed in a very British digital experience where the walls of Beijing Television Centre - where the event was held - were transformed into a moving digital tapestry. A hint of Burberry's leitmotif whispering in the shadows of the London Eye, Thames and Houses of Parliament.

The Beijing launch was the biggest and most glamorous event the brand has ever held
The multimedia unveiling of the Autumn-Winter 2011 look aimed to stun. The lines between real and imagined blurred as live models shared catwalk space with life-size holograms. The hologram projections collided on the runway, only to burst into a spray or multiply along the catwalk. Burberry, which believes in taking the weather with it no matter where it goes, played with four British seasons using simulated technology to engage the audience. Models dissolved in a flurry of snow, which was soon dusting the jackets of those watching the show.

Technology and music are the twin planks on which the brand has built its personality. Chief Creative Office Christopher Bailey and its CEO Angela Arhendts beamed at the build up as China embraced the lavish brand and the hype that came with it. "I love the creativity, vibrancy and history of China with its exciting and dynamic energy and it is a huge privilege to be flying the flag for Britain in the magnificent city of Beijing connecting all of our global communities to celebrate everything Burberry represents today from music, to heritage and innovation," said Bailey.

British band Keane made its China debut at the Burberry event
The magical runway was soon transformed into a stage where British band Keane made its China debut, celebrating the longstanding association Burberry has with British music. The brand launched Burberry Acoustic last year, which features British bands they have collaborated with them over the years. Keane's presence in China was in keeping with Burberry's love for music, technology, and an integration of both where possible. The brand celebrated a hugely successful night out in Beijing and as Beijing raves about the production, Burberry takes a bow; on course to conquer the rest of Asia in the coming years.

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