Would you shell out $500 for the privilege of trying on a dress -- even if that dress was a gorgeous designer wedding gown?
Vera Wang, bridal gown designer to the stars, opened her first boutique in mainland China last month in Shanghai.
Wang's parents were both born in Shanghai, but the New York-based designer is showing Chinese customers no special preference. Just the opposite, in fact: According to the Global Times, the new boutique is charging customers just for the privilege of trying on the dresses.
For the low, low price of 3,000 yuan ($482), brides-to-be get a 90-minute slot to test the merchandise. If they buy a gown, the fee will be deducted from the cost of the dress. Otherwise, it's non-refundable.
Women are also advised to give "several weeks" notice for an appointment.
The Chinese boutique is Wang's only storefront charging such a fee, ostensibly to protect the trademarks and designs for the 30,000 - 300,000 yuan gowns.
The fee may not have been cleared at the highest levels at Vera Wang: Vice President of Public Relations Priya Shukla said she was surprised by the policy.
"The activities of one of our international partners was brought to our attention," Shukla told Refinery29. "We are reviewing this carefully and taking measures to ensure all of our stores offer the same standard of excellence worldwide."
Wang is hardly the first international luxury brand to go to extreme measures to protect trademark and copyright in China. Last year, Dolce and Gabbana physically blocked shoppers from photographing window displays.