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What do LA, Paris and Shanghai fashionistas have in common?

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today Jul 12, 2013
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As fashion moves towards a more global image, it is important for brands to take into consideration differing tastes and cultural codes across their varying client bases. Strategy and consultancy agency Martine Leherpeur Conseil (MLC) has studied the convergences and divergences of 25-35 year-old clients from three aspirational fashion hotspots: Los Angeles, Shanghai and Paris. At Who’s Next last week, MLC gave a rundown of its findings.


Included in the study because of its artistic and reinvented culture, the LA breed of fashionista is far from the cliché ‘bimbo’ stereotype but nonetheless is not one to blend into the crowd. Jean-Philippe Evrard, MLC’s managing director; says: “There is certainly a slight ‘look-at-me’ factor, but nothing too ostentatious. Outfits often include references to sub-culture groups: the boho and new-age trends are very popular in LA.” In the City of Angels, shorts are king and ‘effortless glam’ translates as a little dress paired with boots or basic pieces with statement accessories. Beach culture means legs are constantly on show, hair is blonde from the sun and make-up is kept very minimal.

Women in Shanghai also a favour a more natural look, even if it requires a laborious beauty routine. Fashionista’s in China’s economic capital aim for perfection and elegant. “Very much reflecting the image of the city, the Shanghai woman is somewhere between the East and the West,” says Laetitia Orlandi, head of MLC’s Shanghai branch. “Women here often seek the perfect, harmonious silhouette with a little touch of optimism and freedom: a real mix & match.” Elegance is often manifested by outerwear: a structured coat, fur or a leather jacket being popular choices. As in LA, bare legs take precedence over chests. The final touch comes in form of a handbag, seen by many women as a status symbol.

While the Shanghai city-dweller is on the quest for perfection, the Parisian is doing quite the opposite. But ironically, MLC’s findings show that the Parisian puts most thought into her look. French icons include Françoise Giroud and Simone de Beauvoir, with Vanessa Paradis and Charlotte Gainsbourg as more modern references. Effortless chic is the look du jour and a classic look is the trench coat paired with a tousled chignon, representing a penchant for classic looks with a modern twist. A few surprising trends have managed to make their way into the Paris wardrobe, including sneakers, vintage bags, tasteless printed jumpers. Shirts – taking the place of the classic t-shirt - are now being worn buttoned to the top.

So what do these three fashion capitals have in common? Skinny jeans, ballet flats, stiletto shoes, Céline bags, ankle boots, nail polish and shirts and short, all interpreted in their different ways, of course. “Global fashion is dotted with local trends and differing personalities,” says Jean-Philippe Evrard. Maybe it is not so easy to be an international brand with personality after all?

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