THE MAR­QUE OF A MAN

ZEGNA CEL­E­BRATES TWENTY YEARS IN CHINA WITH AN EX­HI­BI­TION THAT CHRON­I­CLES THE MILE­STONES. CHUMKI BHARAD­WAJ RE­PORTS FROM BEI­JING ON A JOUR­NEY EX­TRAOR­DI­NAIRE.

India Today - - BRAND -

Watch­ing the smog-shrouded sun smirk at the le­goed ghet­tos of down­town Bei­jing, it’s dif­fi­cult, at least at first blush, to com­pre­hend the lure of a na­tion and a peo­ple that has held the world in its thrall. China’s ex­tra­or­di­nary run of luck and for­tune is not to be un­der­stood in the grim grey of the unim­pres­sive Bei­jing sky­line, the dour de­meanour of un­smil­ing faces, or the hordes of se­niors per­form­ing Tai chi in clois­tered parks. One look at the Great Wall and the rid­dle un­wraps some­what; it be­speaks de­sire, dis­ci­pline and ded­i­ca­tion. Much like a finely tai­lored suit, its true char­ac­ter is in the small­est de­tails.

It’s an anal­ogy that prob­a­bly best ex­plains Ermenegildo Zegna’s maiden foray, and sub­se­quent suc­cess, into China’s un­charted lux­ury mar­ket in 1991, just two years af­ter the Tianan­men Square show­down. Not the most op­por­tune time to ex­plore a com­mer­cial ven­ture, much less find­ing cus­tomers able to af­ford its pricey men’s suits, the move ex­em­pli­fied Zegna’s pi­o­neer­ing spirit. What’s more, they opened their first store at the Penin­sula Ho­tel in Bei­jing, then owned by the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army. No mean feat that. “It en­sured cap­tive eye­balls among in­flu­en­tial Chi­nese, who were only just be­gin­ning to out­stretch their fledg­ling ties with the world”, ex­plains CEO, Gildo Zegna.

Twenty event­ful years on and to­day, Zegna counts more than 82 points of sale in 37 cities across Greater China. It is this suc­cess­ful episode in it’s 100-year his­tory that the heirs, em­ploy­ees and a mot­ley crew of jour­nal­ists have come to cel­e­brate in China’s cap­i­tal city. This Chi­nese an­niver­sary re­counts an un­abashed nar­ra­tive of pre­ci­sion mar­ket­ing and pas­sion; one that con­tours Zegna’s cor­po­rate phi­los­o­phy.

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