Squid Game’s director, K-Pop stars and Korean traditional music featured in Louis Vuitton’s runway show in Seoul to unveil the French brand’s pre-fall women’s collection.
The event which took place on Seoul’s Jamsugyo bridge Saturday and revealed designer Nicolas Ghesquiere’s creations, was the second fashion show Louis Vuitton has held in South Korea. The first was in 2019, also for womenswear.
The show in the South Korean capital is a sign of how luxury labels are catering to the world’s biggest luxury goods spenders on a per-capita basis, according to Morgan Stanley. Louis Vuitton made more than $1 billion in sales in that country last year, according to a local company filing.
LVMH’s largest brand is aiming to leverage the popularity of BTS pop stars, who have armies of fans worldwide. Celebrities such as Hollywood star Chloe Moretz watched Saturday’s show from the front row, while Squid Game’s actress Hoyeon Jung was the first model on the runway. The show occasionally featured Korean traditional music, Gukak, with Squid Game’s director Hwang Dong-Hyuk participating as an advisor on the production.
Pietro Beccari, chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton, praised South Korea as “a cultural hub that continues to draw global attention,” in a statement ahead of the show.
Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton “are paying attention because South Koreans have become an important customer group,” said Edouard Aubin, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, in an interview before the event. The country’s rising wealth, and its citizens’ enthusiasm for beauty and status symbols, Aubin notes, are key drivers of interest in the brand. Christian Dior, another LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE label, also held a show in Seoul last year.
Morgan Stanley estimates South Koreans are the biggest per-capita spenders on luxury items, amounting to $325 a year, compared to $55 for Chinese shoppers. Overall, they represent about 6 percent of global spending on personal luxury goods, Aubin estimates.
Louis Vuitton crossed the €20 billion ($22.1 billion) revenue milestone in 2022. The label’s profile has been boosted by global celebrity spokespeople such as actress Zendaya and football player Lionel Messi.
In February, Lous Vuitton appointed Pharrell Williams to the role of menswear designer, succeeding the late creative Virgil Abloh. The musician turned entrepreneur will unveil his first collection in June.
Earlier this year, Beccari took over as CEO, following his successful stint running Christian Dior. Delphine Arnault, the daughter of LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, replaced Beccari at the group’s second-biggest brand.
The strong performance of Louis Vuitton and some of its peer brands has boosted LVMH’s stock price, propelling the fortune of its controlling shareholder Arnault and making him the world’s wealthiest person.
Louis Vuitton sales last year in South Korea came in at 1.69 trillion won ($1.27 billion), up 15 percent from 2021, according to a local company filing. That compares to 1.59 trillion won for Chanel and 650 billion won for Birkin maker Hermes International.
Louis Vuitton opened its first store in Seoul in 1991. In March, billionaire Arnault visited Seoul and met with heads of Korean department stores. His daughter Delphine Arnault was with him during the trip.
By Angelina Rascouet and Heejin Kim.
From Prada to Dior, fashion’s embrace of Korean pop stars is going into overdrive as brands look to Asian consumers to fuel growth.