Fragrance fit for an emperor: Armani brings exhibition to Deshou Palace

On 24 February, Armani Beauty unveiled its pop-up fragrance exhibition in Deshou Palace, an imperial palace-turned-museum in Hangzhou, Zhejiang. The exhibition will last until 3 March.

The exhibition is part of Armani’s campaign for its latest fragrance, the Armani/Privé Santal Dan Sha. The fragrance combines woody oriental influences with tranquil sandalwood notes that evoke the feeling of walking in the woods. The scent of sandalwood is significant in traditional Chinese culture and is often associated with Buddhism. On Weibo, China’s Twitter equivalent, the topic “Armani/Privé Santal Dan Sha” (阿玛尼颐和清檀) has accumulated 56.54 million views since its launch last year.

Deshou Palace Museum is a museum housed in the restored imperial palace of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279). Originally the home of disgraced Chancellor Qin Hui (1091 – 1155), Deshou Palace was later expanded to house the abdicated Emperor Gaozong (1107 – 1187) and used as his retirement residence. The ruins of the palace were gradually discovered between 1984 and 2020.

In 2020, plans for establishing a museum were announced. Parts of the palace were rebuilt while others were recreated on the ruins with projection mapping and augmented reality. The museum opened its doors in late 2022 and last December, collaborated with Hanfu maker Shi San Yu with a collection of Song-inspired new style Hanfu.

By holding the exhibition within the restored palace, Armani has leveraged the immersive experience of the museum and its gardens. Both the sandalwood-based fragrance and the museum boast tranquillity in the bustling city life. This is a great fit between the scent, the emotion it inspires and the location of the exhibition. While the museum can leverage the luxury status of Armani and the spiritual connotation of the fragrance, the brand can also gain more credibility in the realm of traditional Chinese culture marketing. With both spiritual tourism and the New Chinese Style on the rise, it is a timely team-up for both parties.


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