Value Retail unveiled its first Village in China on May 15th. With over 40 glamorous boutiques open, Yi Ou Lai Suzhou Village is now ready for a grand event on October 16 that celebrates a summer of notable successes.
The architecture of Yi Ou Lai Suzhou is inspired by the cities visited by Marco Polo during his 13th century journey from Venice to the East. His voyage along the Silk Road is rendered in a poetic form of architecture that evokes the marriage of East and West.
The Villages beautiful buildings now house boutiques from Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Michael Kors, Valentino, Armani, Ferragamo, Hugo Boss, Carolina Herrera, Dunhill and Givenchy. They sell merchandise from previous season’s collections at savings of up to 75 per cent. Over Golden Week at the beginning of October the Village had over 65,000 visitors.
“The Village harnesses art, architecture and performances to enrich our guests’ appetite for self-expression.”
says Ruth Ang, Marketing Director of Value Retail China. “Life feels better in the Village and that is an inspiring environment for guests to realize that shopping is a form of self-expression, and art form in which they can explore and change their identity, making it more Yi (brilliant).”
Suzhou’s heritage of silk and luxury and Value Retail’s roots in European elegance and savoir-faire will be celebrated on October 16 with a series of art-inspired performances. These were specially commissioned for the Village and developed over the course of the last 12 months. Davide Quadrio of ArtHubAsia, one of the most influential curators in Shanghai, is the artistic director of the production. He says:
“My work and the work of my team is that of cultural translators, a link between various parts of the world that are somehow interpreted and expanded with a mutual creative process, bridging the local and non local into a global experience that is free to travel the world, not restrictive nor dated.”
The Suzhou production is called Thousand Silk Threads and is a contemporary interpretation of silk’s magical nativity, the Marco Polo story and the influence of European savoir-faire in China rendered through dance, art and music.
Thousand Silk Threads
Thousand Silk Threads will explore the roots of Yi Ou Lai Suzhou in the reality of Marco Polo’s journey from Venice and the mythology of Value Retail’s rendering of that story in the Village’s architecture and performance spaces.
The performance will merge dance, digital art, electronic and traditional Chinese music, in an original production that will celebrate the spirit of Yi Ou Lai Suzhou and its unique marriage of heritage, art and shopping.
Mirroring the aesthetics of Yi Ou Lai Suzhou and its beautiful vernacular architecture, the flair of the artistic creation by artists hailing from Italy, France, China, Germany and Australia, will bring together the most innovative trends of international contemporary art to inspire guests and enrich their appetite for personal exploration and self-expression.
Yi Ou Lai is pioneering a new way to combine art with a sophisticated retail experience, redefining outlet shopping as shopping tourism both for the world’s leading brands and for the discerning, sophisticated global shopper.
THE GRAND CELEBRATION STAGE
The impressive 35-meter long stage, conceived especially for the occasion, has been designed by stage and costume designer Zhou Jie (China). Performance artist and dancer Xiao Ke (China), in collaboration with renowned choreographer Alizia Borsari (Italy), have created contemporary dance choreographies and installations, which are displayed throughout the Village.
Australian dance group Strange Fruit will open the celebration with an original performance that fuses theatre, dance and circus, using unique five-metre high swaypoles, starting what will be an immersive experience that enhances the senses.
THE GRAND SCENOGRAPHY
The scenography, characterized by moving screens, will feature a mesmerising sequence of artistic visuals created for the occasion. With digital projections by Recipients Collective (Italy) and with contributions by n+n Corsino (France), the visual experience will be flanked by a brand new musical piece composed by Hu Zi (China) and with a live performance by acclaimed German ensemble Brandt Brauer Frick and Hu Zi himself. A special live performance by artist Pierre Giner (France), will fill the Village and inspire dancing in the Village late into the evening.
BE YI, BE FREE
Yi Ou Lai Suzhou has been created as a place to relax, somewhere for shopper’s to hear the voice of their inner child once more, mischievously calling for them to have more fun. This sense of intimacy is apparent in the fountains, stone benches and charming cafes of Yi Ou Lai Suzhou.
“Suzhou Village is a place where the vigour of life in all its wonder can be more keenly felt through the exploration of self,” says Ruth Ang. “The medium may be style, but the steps are just as passionate and engaged as a ballet.”
As Yi Ou Lai Suzhou blooms, the company plans that guests should be increasingly a part of its artistic and emotional expression and it’s getting harder to tell the dancer from the dance. The Village is Art, and its guests are the artists. Value Retail has chose self-expression as a means to liberate the souls of its visitors. Now wonder its new slogan is “Be Yi, Be Free. ”