Luxury Scores Big With Modern Tales Around Qixi, China’s Valentine’s Day

Qixi, or Chinese Valentine’s Day, has become one of the country’s biggest marketing festivals after Chinese New Year. According to data agency Social Beta, luxury labels launched the biggest number of localized campaigns during last year’s Qixi.

As this year’s Qixi fell on Aug. 22, which lead up to fall collection release dates, many luxury players marketed products from their latest collections through a Qixi lens.

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For most brands, telling a persuasive love story that resonates with Chinese shoppers remains a key point.

This year, many brands took direct inspiration from the original Qixi mythology. As the story goes, the Cowherd and Weaver Girl were separated by the galaxy and could only reunite on the Milky Way once a year.

In Chanel‘s version of the Qixi tale, Liu Wen and Jing Boran, one of China’s favorite rumored couples, played the role of the separated couple in an animated short film. In the video, Liu roams around town on a romantic quest to find Jing, who is waiting for her atop a bridge.

Bottega Veneta found four pairs of modern-day Qixi couples as they embark on journeys searching for their better halfs.

Following on from its much praised Qixi film for 2022, Bottega Veneta worked with many talents from the original crew, including Chinese cinematographer Jess Jing Zou, and real-life couple Wei Xiaotong and Xu Yifei on a high-energy film that explored “the universality of love today.”

Mika Hashizume, a friend of the house, was the key protagonist this time. Against a backdrop of various cityscapes, Mika and other players were motivated by the pure joy of their race toward love, according to the brand. Bottega’s Orbit sneakers and intrecciato bags were prominently featured in the video.

Bottega Veneta’s Qixi campaign.
Bottega Veneta’s Qixi campaign.

“Following the Beijing winter 2023 show, ‘Towards You’ further establishes [creative director Matthieu] Blazy’s value of self-expression, where the truest luxury is to be oneself,” Bottega Veneta said in a statement.

Prada surprised Chinese netizens by featuring the country’s current traffic star JC-T, or Tan Jianci, in its latest Qixi campaign. JC-T is known for his roles in the Chinese dramas series “Lost You Forever” and “Under the Skin.”

Directed by Lorenzo Gironi, the campaign sets the scene for a modern-day Qixi reunion of the Cowherd, played by JC-T, and Weaver Girl, played by Prada model Li Wen. The pair are seen donning pieces from the brand’s fall 2023 collection.

Loewe‘s Qixi campaign also took a modern spin on the Chinese mythical tale.

Separated not by the galaxy but by busy work lives, the young couple, played by Loewe brand ambassador Leo Wu and model Wang Zhenzhen, express their love for each other by writing small notes folded into lucky stars.

“A metaphor for modern couples who are often absorbed in their digital worlds, the film celebrates reconnection and rediscovery of the true essence of love,” Loewe said in a statement. The campaign marked a Qixi release of the Hammock Hobo Mini. Bags are adorned with gold and silver star charms like the ones featured in the film.

Louis Vuitton used the Qixi occasion to experiment with new social commerce formats.

On the brand’s mini program homepage, shoppers were first greeted by a star-studded campaign featuring two sets of celebrities: Chinese model Ming Xi and billionaire husband Mario Ho, Singaporean influencer Yoyo Cao and Chinese model Cici Xiang.

Louis Vuitton’s Qixi customized perfume bottles.
Louis Vuitton’s Qixi customized perfume bottles.

Scrolling down the page, viewers could pick from a pastel-covered Qixi collection, create a customized perfume gift for a loved one, or sign up for a one-on-one livestreaming session with a Louis Vuitton sales associate to get a better view of the products. Qixi-themed pop-ups also launched simultaneously at nine retail locations in first and second-tier cities.

Without a dedicated Qixi campaign, Dior managed to attract shoppers with its same-day delivery services in the Shanghai area. Using the monthlong Qixi holiday to promote its “Plan de Paris” collection, Dior’s Qixi campaign featured Jiang Shuying, its China jewelry ambassador, alongside Chinese model You Tianyi and Chinese actress Zhou Ye, both friends of the house.

At Valentino, Pink PP-themed ice cream trunks attracted huge crowds to the brand’s Shanghai, Wuxi, Chengdu, Nanjing and Qingdao shops. In collaboration with gelato-maker Venchi, Valentino created a dragon fruit-flavored Pink PP ice cream that was also available at 43 Venchi shops.

Valentino x Venchi Pink PP Qixi gelato.
Valentino x Venchi Pink PP Qixi gelato.

The brand also introduced a “VLogo for Love” campaign that featured American singer and model Kazuma Mitchell alongside Chinese singers and former K-pop trainees Sally Liu and Xu Yiyang. To promote the special collection, Valentino launched its first Xiaohongshu pop-up on July 25.

Gucci‘s Qixi campaign was just as saccharin-sweet.

Celebrating young love, Gucci brand ambassador Wen Qi appeared in a Qixi campaign with singer Daniel Zhou. Soundtracked by Donna Lewis’ ’90s hit single “I Love You Always Forever,” the pair modeled a candy-colored collection that focused on key pieces, including the Gucci Diana, Dyonisus and GG Marmont handbags.

Also documenting young couples, Balenciaga tapped Japanese photographer Shinichi Tsutsui to interview three real-life couples against the backdrop of Shanghai’s influencer streets.

In a person-on-the-street-style interview, the fresh-faced couples shyly explained their love stories to Shinichi, wearing looks from the French maison’s latest collection and Qixi-specific pieces, including a “Je t’aime” hoodie, a Barbie-pink Hourglass handbag and high heels adorned with ribbons.

In a separate Wechat post titled “Qixi rituals,” Balenciaga showcased TikTok-friendly videos of a model walking down a rose-petal trail and a monumental card domino, which unveiled imagery of an Hourglass bag.

Rimowa delivered a Qixi campaign with intellectual rigor.

In a short film titled “Love in the Dérive,” Rimowa spearheaded a dialogue between Liu Qing, an esteemed Chinese philosopher, and Chen Zheyuan, an up-and-coming actor and singer.

They discussed the concept of “dérive,” or drift, characterizing romantic love as an unplanned journey through time and space.

The campaign, featuring the thinkers on a journey across China, contained various products from Rimowa and a pink Luggage Harness created for the Chinese holiday.

At Salvatore Ferragamo, a more literal interpretation of love invited minor criticism.

Inspired by the design of mahjong tiles, the brand’s Qixi capsule included handbags and preppy clothes adorned with the Chinese character for “love” and the number 22, signaling good luck.

Salvatore Ferragamo’s Qixi collection.
Salvatore Ferragamo’s Qixi collection.

The campaign, featuring Chinese actor Mingqi Jiang and actress Zi Yang in matching outfits, reminded many Chinese netizens of a social phenomenon in the 2010s: instead of publicly displaying one’s affection for another, Chinese youngsters opted to dress like twins.

Launch Gallery: 2023 Qixi Campaign Images From Luxury Brands

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