As brands such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci become mainstream, they are losing prestige with more small, individualistic fashion brands gaining the new favour.

Alexander Wang led French fashion house Balenciaga’s efforts to ramp up its China presence this week at a star-studded Beijing runway show, exhibition, and party on Thursday night. 

Showing off the label’s spring line, Wang took a cue from Valentino’s 2013 Shanghai show by designing a 13-piece China-exclusive capsule collection likely aimed at keeping mainland sales up as more customers shop abroad to avoid taxes. The event also showed off Balenciaga’s history and heritage with an exhibition of over 40 pieces created by founder Cristóbal Balenciaga between 1939 and the 1960’s curated by Wang. Chinese celebrities such as Yao Chen and Ni Ni graced the front row, boosting social media chatter about the event, and top Chinese models walked the runway.

Wang believes that now is the right time for an expanded presence into China as individual style and interest in smaller, niche brands are on the rise. According to an interview with Women’s Wear Daily,

“Before, growing up in Shanghai, the market was much more specific to brands such as Cartier or Dunhill, or even the very large brands such as Vuitton,” he said. “That was much more based on logos and items that were much flashier.

“The consumers here have become much more evolved,” he continued. “The taste and the style have grown beyond the bigger brands that have a major presence.”

Wang’s status as the brand’s lead designer is an added boost for the brand given his cultural connections to China—he spent part of his childhood in Shanghai, where his mother still lives.

bSee the full article about Wang’s show here.