Shang Xia, true luxury in China by Jiang Qiong-er under the wing of Hermes
A fine cup of tea in hand, assured voice, sets on the clash of traditional Chinese music, Jiang Qiong-er receives in her new shop, at rue de Sèvres, in the sixth arrondissement of Paris. Spontaneous, almost familiar, the Chinese of 36 years takes time to reveal every piece of her new collection. And speaks about the genesis of Shang Xia, the brand she founded in 2010 with Hermes.
In less than four hours, she will fly to Shanghai, where she opened the first of her three stores. However, no sign of impatience can be seen n this smiling face.
"This place and creations contained therein have been designed around the tea ceremony," said in an almost perfect French, the designer, which is also CEO of the brand.
In contrast to the flashy and ostentatious
Is this the luxury of the XXI century? Take the time to talk over tea. In a sense, this is the message that appears to circulate in this space, while keept in the same time cozy and refined, which combines the arts of silk, porcelain, bamboo, lacquer.
"Today, luxury far beyond the product. It is synonymous with experiences and emotions," said the hostess.
Like its parent company - Hermes holds a 90% stake of Shang Xia (literally "upside down" to evoke harmony between opposites) is defined more as an art house to live. Same taste for the beautiful object, same passion for quality craftsmanship, same love of modernity married to cultural heritage.
"Beyond that, everything is different between us: raw materials, collections, inspiration," explains the young woman trained in the Arts déco (decorative arts) in Paris. At Shang Xia, 90% of products are made in China, by a dozens of artisans scattered throughout the country, the rest is produced in Mongolia, India and Vietnam. A made in Asia trading at the price of gold: more than 4000 euros for a tea porcelain and woven bamboo or a cashmere coat felt.
"We are satisfied that the made in China can mean anything other than poor quality" Said the proud Jiang Qiong-er. Drawing on five thousand years of civilization, the latter hopes to participate in the emergence of luxury in China: "A luxury poetry where the empty space give way to the imagination."
The appeal of Chinese expertise
Far from the patterns dragons and pagodas Asian folklore, it seems especially opposite the Asian penchant for flashy and ostentatious. "But things changes. Past few years, the wealthy classes want to reconnect with their roots," says Jiang Qiong-er, referring to the pride of her countrymen when they discover expertise asleep by the ravages of the Cultural Revolution.
To climb alongside the giants of Western luxury, Shang Xia will first need to be recognized in its own market. Or create a high-end label from scratch takes time. "Beyond the ancient craft traditions on which they are based, houses such as Hermès, Cartier and Louis Vuitton have forged myths over time," says Serge Carreira, a lecturer at Sciences Po.
"We're like farmers, we plant seeds whose fruits will be harvested by future generations," warns Jiang Qiong-er. A poetic way of saying that, for the moment, the brand still not makes money and does not reach 10 million euros in benefits. Also a way to remember that, with the support of Hermès, Shang Xia can remain "timeless" financial. A real luxury.
With the help of the great French house, Jiang Qiong-er created the luxury brand Shang Xia. She wants to prove that in this area too, her country made its revolution.