Fashion and China

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I've been blogging a lot about magazines that I read lately... For that, I'm sorry. I haven't had much time to read books, and magazines are faster to read.  Also, I haven't been to the library/bookstore in a long time, so I haven't had time to find new books. What I've read lately are books that I receive in the mail, whether from Amazon or from publishers. (I know, excuses.. But I have been really busy since school started.)

I've been meaning to blog about the September Issue of Vogue ever since I got it, but I haven't really had the time too. I have a lot to say about the issue, so I kept putting the post off.

I'm not really a big fan of Kate Moss, but I liked the cover. It reminded me of Marie Antoinette, but a more modern version.

VOGUE magazine; September Issue

I found the above article very interesting. I haven't really seen paperweights a lot nowadays, but it's nice to know that they're making a comeback. I've always liked crystal objects, and the red one above is very pretty. From the looks of the picture, the  lilies are also made of crystal and are 3-D. 

I googled "Saint Louis Paperweights" and found that antique Saint Louis paperweights sell for at least $1000. I suppose in the fashion world, this isn't a lot of money when clothing such as Chanel sell for at least ten times the price, but for most people, it's an enormous sum, especially for a paperweight. However, the company does have a history of 250 years and Queen Victoria was a collector, so the price wouldn't be cheap.

If you read my teenVOGUE October comments, you'll probably know that I really liked the Kate Moss wedding editorial. It was so flowy and romantic. I liked the editorial a lot, but I think if I ever wore the clothes, I would end up looking like a grandma... *sigh* Lace doesn't work that well on me... At least I haven't found a lace-y thing that does so far. 

On a random note, the kids are so adorable. (▽≦)

VOGUE magazine; September Issue

Another article that was particularly interesting was the "Go East!" article and editorial featuring Karlie Kloss in China. It was personal for me, to see the land of my birth through fashion lens. I actually annotated and highlighted the article.. (I'm so nerdy...)

The article focuses a lot on the celebrities and life in the metropolis of Beijing and Shanghai, but it also reveals a lot about the mindset of wealthy Chinese nowadays. A statistic from the article says, "The Chinese are currently the second largest consumers of fashion and luxury goods, representing more than a quarter of all sales worldwide." This is a huge change from ten years ago, when China still seemed to be a poor, developing country. Economic progress in China has been huge, and there is an increased demand of foreign goods, whether fashion goods or other lifestyle goods. 

Now in China, there is a different way of thinking. Whereas ten years ago, people bought things out of necessity, now, people buy things out of desire. Filmmaker Ruby Yang (director of The Blood of the Yingzhou District) is quoted, saying "China is like an adolescent that is growing too quickly. You see the energy, it's wild. There are all these beautiful women in all these new magazines that didn't exist five years ago. They dress fashionably, and they want to indulge themselves with bags and lip gloss. It's like they're all teenagers. China is a teenager!" Indeed, China is like an teenager, splurging on luxury goods. (Side note: Are teenagers that bad? I'm a teenager and I'm not indulging myself with lip gloss... But then again, I'm not a lip gloss person... It's an interesting comparison. )

Although China is modernizing at an extraordinary pace, I can't help but feel nostalgic. I remember the China of my childhood, one that was relatively quite, and more personal. When I went back to China, I felt so lost. It was a culture shock. A lot of the shops and stores that I remembered were gone. In their place were huge shopping plazas, and other vestiges of Western life. I felt lost in the country that I once called home. My sentiments were echoed in Bao Bao's words, "I am very proud of what's happening here in China, that there is all this beautiful architecture in Beijing that is new. But you have to lose a lot of old neighborhoods ,and it was very difficult to say goodbye to them .The Forbidden City is beautifully redone, but when we were growing up, there were people cutting hair on the street and old people doing Tai Chi outside. It was much more intimate experience. "

VOGUE; September 2011 issue

My favorite photograph from the shoot was the portrait of Karlie and Xu Bing, an artist. In the picture looks like it's overlaid with Chinese characters, but in reality, the English translation of a poem by Yu Xuanji. (Take out the hair pin/ see the reflection of the stream/ lie in bed with books around/ wake up to comb hair, half drunk.) I found the psuedo-China very cool and creative. I tried to make out some of the English words (it's reflected, so it's mirrored.), and it was interesting how it resembled Chinese. Many people think English and Chinese look very different, but in this editorial, they looked shockingly similar. 

My only problem with the editorial was the photo with Karlie and the factory women. In the picture, the women are all smiling, and the factory appears to have bright lighting and good conditions. I felt like the picture gave misconceptions about the reality of factory life in China. Maybe the women were lucky enough to have good conditions, but the reality is, a lot of goods are manufactured in sweatshop conditions and the workers get little pay. 

The article ended on a hopeful note, with Lu Chuan (a famous movie director)  saying "Here in China, we can all exist now. So if somebody wants to go back to 1,000 years ago, or if somebody wants a revolution overnight, or if somebody wants still to keep the communist party? There is room for all kinds of thoughts. Ten years ago, 30 years ago, we had only one color, one dream. And now we have thousands of colors. Thousands of dreams. " While there are various things that we take for granted here in the US that are restricted in China, China is changing, hopefully for the better. Lu Chuan was right in saying that ten years ago China only had one color. The media was restricted. Even though it still is, there are more opinions that are voiced. I hope in the future, China can really have "thousands of colors and dreams".


Note: All quotes are from the VOGUE article, "Go East!" in the September 2011 Issue. 

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