Forbes India 30 Under 30 2023

Lunar New Year makes the rabbit fashion's mascot of the moment

The Lunar New Year, celebrated on January 22, will mark the start of the year of the rabbit, or the water hare. And this has been stimulating the creativity of brands that rarely miss an opportunity to reach out to the Chinese market

Published: Jan 20, 2023 11:53:44 AM IST
Updated: Jan 20, 2023 12:17:32 PM IST

Lunar New Year makes the rabbit fashion's mascot of the moment The Lunar New Year will be celebrated on January 22 Image: Shutterstock

Unaccustomed to being top of the list of fashion inspirations, the rabbit is nonetheless taking pride of place in the collections of the biggest luxury houses at the beginning of 2023. This is because the Lunar New Year, celebrated on January 22, will mark the start of the year of the rabbit, or the water hare. And this has been stimulating the creativity of brands that rarely miss an opportunity to reach out to the Chinese market.

Between Christmas and Valentine's Day—two holidays that are conducive to shopping—falls the Lunar New Year. This celebration does not go unnoticed in the fashion industry, and even less so in luxury goods, given the importance of the Chinese market for these two sectors. And this year is even more special because of China's reopening to the world after three years of strict restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, brands are having a field day with a plethora of products and advertising campaigns themed on the Lunar New Year, to the point of making the rabbit fashion's mascot of the moment. Until January 22, in any case...

Sneakers join the party

After the tiger, it is now the rabbit's turn to take over fashion. A symbol of peace, prosperity and hope, the rabbit is surprisingly present on sneakers this year. For many years, we've been used to seeing a host of watches and luxury accessories in the colors of the celebrated animal, but it is much more unusual to see sneakers land in limited editions to celebrate the Chinese zodiac's  animal of honor. But the appetite for fashion among China's Gen Z, whose purchasing power is increasing year on year, seems to have changed the game. As a result, industry giants such as Nike, Air Jordan, New Balance and adidas have decided to celebrate the Lunar New Year with special editions featuring the rabbit in all its forms.

And luxury houses are no exception. Givenchy, for example, killed two birds with one stone by celebrating the centenary of the Walt Disney Company and the Lunar New Year with a collection of clothes and accessories featuring Oswald The Lucky Rabbit. Standout pieces include a pair of leather sneakers decorated with a motif of the famous fictional character. For its part, Dior has treated two of its sneaker styles—one low and one high—to a rabbit-themed makeover, including a shearling design that's sure to go down a storm with sneakerheads. The same goes for Dolce & Gabbana, which is offering a pair of leather sneakers decorated this time with rabbit ears, for a super-cute look. And the Italian luxury brand doesn't stop there, presenting a whole collection adorned with rabbits, from a long chiffon dress to a silk scarf and a printed canvas bag.

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Rabbits galore

While sneakers have certainly embraced the Lunar New Year theme, they are far from being the only pieces of women's and men's wardrobes to be conquered by the rabbit. This year, luxury brands have doubled down on imagination and creativity to offer entire collections celebrating the furry little mammal with big ears. Burberry, for example, launched a whole capsule for the occasion, including a beanie, a baseball cap and a backpack, all adorned with rabbit ears. Kitsch creations that will no doubt prove a hit. Gucci too has a playful and graphic collection also featuring the now-iconic animal, with pieces for women, men and children, including brooches, socks, cardigans and quilted jackets featuring a rabbit motif. All of this is spotlighted in an advertising campaign featuring real rabbits following a group of friends through a field of flowers.

With just days to go before the Lunar New Year, luxury launches themed on the event, and especially featuring the celebrated animal, are multiplying at high speed. Miu Miu, Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Kenzo, Hugo Boss, Ferragamo and Moschino—to name a few—are some of the brands that have drawn on their creativity to curry favor with the coveted Chinese market. And when it's not with collections, it's brand advertising campaigns that are featuring not rabbits, but world-renowned Chinese muses —another way to reach out to consumers in China and build their loyalty.

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