“Hannibal” conquers Shanghai as Zegna brings Mads Mikkelsen to town

No, it’s not the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps during the Second Punic War against the Roman Republic. Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, best known in China for playing Dr Hannibal Lecter in the TV series Hannibal, with reinforcement from the Italian fashion house Zegna, has taken Shanghai by storm with the brand’s Villa Zegna initiative.

Taking inspiration from the brand’s latest Oasis Lino collection, Villa Zegna is a concept space currently touring the world. The first stop after the Milan debut was set on Middle Huaihai Road, Shanghai. The project provides visitors with an immersive experience, inspired by the Oasis Zegna, a 100 square kilometre (24,710.5 acre) natural territory in Piedmont, Northern Italy, in the Italian Alps, where founder Ermenegildo Zegna’s villa is located and is now home to the company.

The event began on 23 May and lasted a week before moving. The e-story pop-up space combines the oasis planted by Zegna with the linen motif of the Oasis Lino collection. The centrepiece of the space is a field of indoor flax, ripe and ready for harvest. The collection also boasts the 100% traceability of its material from flax grown in Normandy, Northern France to Oasis Zegna where they are transformed into linen fabrics.

Having appeared in the Oasis Lino promotional video, Zegna’s Global Ambassador Mikkelsen appeared along with brand Artistic Director Alessandro Sartori and fellow Global Ambassador Wu Lei, celebrities, influencers, innovators, VICs and tastemakers at the exclusive dinner hosted at the Shanghai Villa on 25 May. Mikkelsen later continued to take over Shanghai in an Oasis Lino outfit visiting traditional Chinese gardens and teahouses.

Ermenegildo Zegna Group has been growing rapidly in recent years, with 2023 revenue growing 27.6% to 1.9 billion EUR (2.06 billion USD) year-on-year (YoY). In Q1 2024, the group’s revenue grew 8% globally to 460 million EUR (498.95 million USD), but dropped 15.3% YoY in the Greater China region, the only region that suffered a decline. This can be partially attributed to the country’s “normalisation” after the zero-Covid policies which ended in late 2022, and “revenge buying” in early 2023.

However, in a recent interview, President and CEO Gildo Zegna and COO/CFO Gianluca Ambrogio Tagliabue stated that they believe the brand aims to increase the “desirability of the brand in China. The latest event shows that the brand is still doubling down on China with more presence and exclusive events for high-end clientele, which is consistent with the brand’s repositioning of being in the top luxury tier.


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