Thursday, June 4, 2009


The sad fashion truth that has China entranced.

More models from the most un-chic of brands. Perhaps like many brands we love today it will be so unchic, it becomes chic.
VERY UNLIKELY. As the company is still private, an IPO is more likely.

Montagut's flagship at the Grand Canal Shoppes (I hate the spelling!) in Macao (where else!).
It may even be the 'choice of high rollers."

Have any of you boys, girls and gheys heard of MONTAGUT?
I have but it's been at least 30 years since I heard the brand uttered and at that time it was in extremely un-chic situations. Think Chinese diaspora family dinner with Montagut pronounced as "Monta-gute..."
That scene was certainly Botox years away from our lunch today at Shiro with a luxury brand representative and a fashion editor. The editor did not even KNOW the brand let alone the fabric it is known for: silky nylon jersey (fil-lumiere as the company labels it), a material that no self-respecting company would even use for disposable underpants today.
HONESTLY, CAN WE TALK? I promise you'll end up laughing like I did (guffawing would be a better word) upon the mere mention of the brand. But the ones who have been laughing all the way to the bank for about 30 years has really been Montagut and their Chinese partners.
HOW DID SUCH CHIC PEOPLE END UP HAVING SUCH AN UN-CHIC CONVERSATION? Remember, we were NOT discussing taste or style but business.
Everytime you discuss industry records or the business of fashion, you will for sure unearth something so unbe-fuckin-lievable that convinces you the fashion world is one of contrasts and indeed on another planet.
We were talking about the state of the luxury goods business (what else does one talk about these days since we can't be buying a bag every week) and about China's second-tier cities. Very good business I have to report because the brand we had lunch with had a fur trunk in Tsingtao and instantly sold TWO ("I'll buy one if you buy one") furs for 700,000 HKD each (that's 100,000 in worthless USD). These women had their hair done once a week for 1500 USD. In Tsingtao.
Yes, Mei-Mei, there is a Santa Claus but he is in a second tier Chinese city.
Of course from Tsingtao we had to move into a worse 'hood, Urumji, smack in the center of the Siberian Pole of Inaccessibility (I'm not kidding--Google it!) where they are opening a luxury mall with LV, Canali and Cartier among the big names.
Then I had to mention an interview I did years ago with a fashion executive who told me that she knew of a brand that sold 30,000 polo shirts a month in Guangzhou. Second tier (but maybe first by now) My guess was it was Hugo Boss because like Ferragamo, they were first movers in China, coming in very early and have emerged winners in sales and brand recognition.
BUT NHHOOO--I was WRONG! It was MONTAGUT and someone at lunch had the figures! Montagut came into China at the same time as Pierre Cardin (and I mean the mushroom PC label and not the couture when they posed on the Great Wall) and look at where they both are now.
Apparently Montagut, with over 3000 points of sale in greater China alone (take that LV and Chanel!), has two collections--one made in China and the more expensive one that averages at about 100 euros which is made in France. YES! They can't make cars in France anymore but they can stil make fil-lumiere Montagut shirts.
They also have fashion shows which feature men and women in the polo shirts. The women parade in shorts with heels and a visor for a 'sporty' look.
In the eyes of many Chinese people, the polo shirts were associated with wealth and romance as its Chinese brand name means "charming dream". Its flower logo added more to the romantic feeling. ....At that time, there were not many western goods available, and the Montagut polo shirt was one of the first high-class items that could be brought there.
I know you fashionistas out there are thinking this cannot be reality but it is! You kids have to get out more like to second-tier cities. Let me leave you with a great story typical of the old Chinese diaspora in the Philippines that epitomizes the popularity of Montagut.
The brand, together with Lacoste (at least they are trying to resuscitate themselves) and Pierre Cardin, was looked at as an expensive brand so much so that when Chinese weddings with their multi-page gatefolded red and gold invites called for 'formal attire,' many Chinese guests would not show up in tuxes or Barong, the Philippines national dress but Montagut!!?? Why? Because it was expensive and imported and expensive and imported from France(!)=formal.
You can take the boy out of China but you can't take the Chinois out of the boy.


sankyu said...

Awww jologs pala akows at ang tatay ko kasi favorite brand ko yan well korekek ka jan makintab lahat ng mga shirt nila pero sa Singapore nakabili ako ng black cotton poloshirt na hindi makintab... cotton ata yun at saka meron din silang long sleeved polo shirt.

Di na bagay sa akin yung makikitab kasi bagay lang yan sa mga Hunks hehehe pero I like montagut dati pero ngayon dina masyado. Nakakita ako ng brach niya sa may causeway bay..

pero GL or Gold Lion na paborito ko pag nasa SG at nasa HK ako...mura kasi

fuchsiaboy said...

ohhh eeem geee!

i see that brand in the ukay-ukay and it always make me laugh because of the shiny fabric.

makabili nga, wehehe.