Museums in China are a Special Place for Fashion Brands

Why so many luxury brands want to be associated with Art ?

Why brands collaborate with Chinese artists? 

Luxury houses love to collaborate with artists or museums

  • They are surfing on the Chinese Pride “Guochao”,
  • They reinforce  exclusivity,
  • They can meet new consumers
  • They create desire to  hold one unique piece of luxury

Why and how do brands exhibit in Chinese museums?

There has been a few example of Luxury brands lending exhibiting in some of the famous museum in China.

Luxury brands and contemporary art are merging in China

Let’s take a look at their results and analyse the situation

Louis Vuitton

Vuitton ouverture
Famous Chinese actress Gong Li took part in the opening ceremony

In 2011, Louis Vuitton lends an exhibition to the National Museum of China called “Voyage” retracing the history of French luxury bags brand from its very beginnings to today. This trendy event went all out to not only celebrate the brand but also the French identity and know-how. However many still wonder : why was this collection allowed to stay at one of the most, if not THE most prestigious museum in China?

2017 LMVH put on the group show ‘Bentu: Chinese artists in a time of turbulence bringing together 12 contemporary Chinese artists to explore the reality of life in the modern Chinese society.

Here is the story :

Renovation had been carried out in the museum but no advertisement was made about it, the museum was simply closed. Two months later, everyone took the opening of the Louis Vuitton travel exhibition for the reopening ceremony of the museum , which caused some misunderstanding on the part of the Chinese public, a great joy for the commercial brand manager and the director of the museum to be very embarrassed.

Indeed, anger and turmoil spread through the social networks like wildfire protesting and saying how can a foreign brand exhibit in such an important museum for its reopening?

Let’s take a closer look :

  • The cost of the renovation was important
  • The exhibition was set around a very sensitive date in the Chinese history, June 4.
  • Louis Vuitton being celebrated at this museum opening was no doubt a very good time to be seen for the brand

During these events, the brand gained reputation, brand awareness even though people were angry for the way things went. But their exhibition has been seen by many Chinese. This allowed them to show the history of their brand as well as their current products.

This event is also a good thing for the government since it distracts the Chinese from the events of the June 4th, diminishing the potential for trouble. Indeed the exhibition still being there for this date seems a little too convenient.

Finally, did the brand give some financial compensation to smooth things up?

In the end the government launched a new set of regulations and ban to calm things down about foreign brands exhibiting in Chinese museums

How commercial do you think this exhibition was?



It is then the Chanel exhibition that was received in the same museum as the ban was still in place .

The director of the art gallery in Beijing even wrote an introduction for the show in question. This exhibition surprised many people because this time there was really little to no commercial purpose but many objects from other collections worldwide. How this exhibition was made was also welcomed by the Chinese public.

Given the temporal proximity to the  Louis Vuitton exhibition, there is definitely a positive contrast between an exhibition of this kind in addition comes at a very inopportune time and a lot more art oriented exhibition that is more educational and informative.

Chanel brand gained in reputation and won unquestionably the heart of Chinese since it shows and discover a little known universe , values ​​and a very special history with many different media


Histoire Dior

The Dior exhibition which took place in October in November was a whole different look . ON can find the whole story of Christian Dior returned to its historical context, this is the second world war and the liberation of women. A selection of thematic rooms allowed to see the latest creations and video as the “Garden Dior ” or Secret Gardens 2 which through a series of images tell a story of the time of Versailles.

Dior 1

All eras are represented, from the 60s to 80s with headlights creations each time , whether those of John Galliano and Raf Simons. In addition people could see the brands expertise in crafting through activities like in the picture below :

Atelier Dior

Dior adopted the Chinese seed embroidery in Dior Menswear Autumn 2021


As these three examples illustrate museums exhibition campaigns are interesting additions to museums for new visitors they attract , we can sometimes ask questions the motives that prompted the Chinese authorities to accept any of them.

As shown in the first example, bringing an exhibit in a museum means to approach the story of a country, and therefore a place of national pride of the people in our case.

Very sensitive and there is a thin line a brand should not cross between showing new values to satisfy people curiosity and use museum as obvious commercial tools.

Doing the latter only triggers bad e-reputation via public outcry

These exhibitions Can be PERFECT for  launchng of new collection by brands , Soft way to do Sell

However, getting a good exposure as did Dior and Chanel greatly enhances their brand image only their history, their values, and their expertise.

This gives a picture of friendly brand respecting China and its museums. Then these three brands are already very well known outside of China and have high reputation. Does not lend an exhibition who wants.

However if your company can pull this one of, it will not increase your sales but your brand image and reputation greatly. Visitors to the exhibition, curious about the exhibition will seek to learn more about your brand.

Further readings

Top China Luxury Trends for 2024

How to Use Advertising to Promote Fashion Brands in China?


  • xiao yù

    Very true! Exhibition and events on a larger scale have always been very expensive but very efficient to boost the visibility of a brand a make it popular. But is it affordable for any brand? Not sure, both for financial and notoriety reasons.

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