Qixi, ‘China’s Valentine’s Day,’ is here: Which luxury campaigns are pulling at our heartstrings?

China’s third and final love-themed shopping festival of the year will be celebrated on August 22. Far from exhibiting love fatigue, luxury fashion brands are continuing to win the hearts of local consumers by offering thoughtful, multi-faceted campaigns that put creative twists on the country’s traditional Qixi Festival.

Qixi, or Chinese Valentine’s Day, has been celebrated for more than 2,000 years in China. Compared with the other romance-fueled shopping festivals like February’s Valentine’s Day or May’s 520 Day, Qixi has deep roots in traditional Chinese mythology, offering brands an opportunity to build cultural connections that align with young consumers’ sense of guochao.     

The standout brands this year have taken a fresh approach to adapting the romantic story behind Qixi. Their curated fashion and gift selections for the festival mix signature items with new or limited-edition products. Tying all this together are thoughtful and inclusive regional initiatives that have driven engagement and shares across social media.

Below are four of Jing Daily’s top luxury fashion brand campaigns for Qixi 2023.

Valentino’s #VLogoforLove 

Valentino’s #VLogoforLove selection for Qixi 2023 is a curated gift edit of handbags, footwear and accessories that feature the brand’s iconic VLogo emblem. Among the new interpretations of cult favorites are the Valentino Garavani Locò Micro bag in white, denim and powder rose, and the VLogo Signature collection of bags and pumps with tone-on-tone enamel detailing that encapsulate the “quiet luxury” trend. For men, newly introduced VLogo Pace sneakers from the brand’s Fall 2023 collection come in a range of colorways.

Valentino’s Qixi’s special selection is presented in a range of classic and refreshing hues. Photo: Valentino

Accompanying the Qixi selection, Valentino has created two short videos defining love between couples and best friends. In “Melody of Love,” singer and actor He Ma takes a bike ride and relaxes on a sofa in monochromatic pieces from the #VLogoforLove selection. Meanwhile, “Harmony of Love” captures a fun exchange between best friends Liu Xiening and Xu Yiyang, showcasing how love isn’t reserved for romantic couples. 

For the first time, Valentino has launched a pop-up store on Xiaohongshu selling the Qixi pieces, available starting from July 25. The collection is also available on Valentino’s official website, WeChat mini program, Tmall, JD.com, and at boutiques across Greater China.

Balenciaga takes to the streets

In true Balenciaga fashion, the brand is keeping it real for Qixi 2023 by building around the theme of spontaneity and endurance of love. This is interpreted across a range of washed and pre-worn streetwear pieces, subtly embellished with an embroidered outline of a heart and the words “Je t’aime.” Signature bags and pumps are given a maximalist flourish: either pierced all over with circular barbells, covered in a plethora of bow-tied ribbons, or dressed in pink leopard-print fake fur. The series has been available since July 21 in Balenciaga stores throughout mainland China and on balenciaga.cn.

A real-life couple wearing pieces from the Balenciaga Qixi ‘23 series, captured by Shinichi Tsutsui on the streets of Shanghai. Photo: Balenciaga

Taking Balenciaga’s bold styles to the streets of Shanghai, New York-based urban photographer Shinichi Tsutsui captured real-life, non-celebrity couples wearing pieces from the Balenciaga Qixi ‘23 series. The couples candidly pose on the sidewalk and share stories of how they first met in a series of short clips.

Ferragamo’s mahjong-inspired “Game of Love”

Ferragamo’s “Game of Love” Qixi campaign is both delicate and striking. For the Qixi capsule of ready-to-wear garments and accessories, Ferragamo creative director Maximilian Davis was inspired by traditional Chinese mahjong tiles to create an interplay of symbols featuring the number 22 (a homophone for love and the date of this year’s festival), the Chinese character for love (爱), a red heart motif and the word “forever.”  

Ferragamo’s classic Prisma handbag comes in red and black. Photo: Ferragamo

Yang Zi, lead actress of the hit C-drama Lost You Forever (长相思), and rising actor Jiang Qiming star in the richly produced video, which features a game of mahjong against a classic red background. Through the film, Ferragamo not only demonstrates its skill at choosing a cast in China but also its deep understanding of the culture — using mahjong as a metaphor for the game of love.

A playful retelling of the Qixi legend, the campaign was launched on July 20 in Ferragamo’s offline stores as well as on its official website and Tmall flagship store. A selection of unisex outfits in casual tones of beige, white and navy encourage couples to mix, match and share. Meanwhile, classic Ferragamo accessories, such as handbags and leather loafers, add pops of red or black and come elegantly branded with the aforementioned cultural symbols of love. 

Prada’s poetic love series

Prada’s Qixi-inspired collection comprises bags, accessories, jewelry and fragrance. Among the highlights are Symbole sunglasses in a new tortoiseshell colorway and Nano & Mini editions of the Eternal Gold collection, offering unisex interpretations of the brand’s triangle and snake fine jewelry designs. The new Saffiano leather travel bag is proving a hot Qixi item for men.

Prada’s campaign visual is dedicated to Chinese Valentine’s Day and features a special collection. Photo: Prada

Prada’s video campaign takes a more poetic approach to the festival. Starring high-profile actor and singer Tan Jianci and model Li Wen, the traditional Qixi myth is elegantly interpreted through fading and dissolving images that ultimately bring the pair together in a single location and frame. Prada’s Qixi collection debuted on August 2 and is available online and in select Prada boutiques. 

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