China has emerged at the forefront of the fashion conversation with major brands such as Burberry, Dior Homme, and, most recently, Michael Kors hosting blowouts in Shanghai to build their respective presences in the region. Over the past few days, however, the country has earned negative attention after a group of more than sixty foreign models were taken into custody by officials for working illegally under tourist visas (as opposed to obtaining correct Schengen or working permits). Four people were confirmed to have been arrested, and the others will most likely face deportation. The crackdown occurred following a fake casting the Beijing police staged at Chinese agency M3, which presumably represents several of the suspected offenders. Breaking news suggests that additional models have been arrested in Guangzhou after disclosing the addresses of model apartments to authorities in efforts to cooperate. Since then, models have been advised to keep a low profile and avoid walking around in public with their portfolios and comp cards.
All of this speaks to larger problems the model industry faces, and China isn’t the only place where models run into paperwork problems. Here in the U.S., many fresh faces have gotten their big breaks during New York fashion week before having acquired proper working visas. But those types of girls are often placed with major agencies of international repute, which generally go the extra mile to ensure their models are accounted for with appropriate international visas. And so, most likely those indicted models belonged to comparatively shady agencies (that might take a shortcut and opt for easier-to-obtain tourist visas). Many suffer through professional issues, not unlike those depicted in the gripping documentary Girl Model. These are often young Eastern European girls who don’t speak a word of Chinese (or English, for that matter) and are struggling to make ends meet by stringing together jobs and staying in the country longer than their contacted period of time. You’re not about to see someone like Karmen Pedaru getting arrested. Still, these girls should have a voice, too, and it’s organizations like the Model Alliance that are making it a point to educate models about their rights and raise awareness for these issues.
Michael Kors staged a “Jet-Set Experience” at Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport on Friday, complete with a runway show of one-off pieces designed to convey the designer’s glamorous style and a crowd that included house favorites like Freida Pinto, Hilary Swank, and Camilla Belle. The collection was divided into three very Kors-ian groups: big city, mountain retreat, and beach resort, each of which was accompanied by high-def video projections on multiple surround screens. To drive home the jet-set message and heighten the immersive experience, there was a private jet parked smack-dab in the middle of things. (The plane belonged to John Idol, chairman and CEO of Michael Kors Holdings Ltd.—talk about high-flying.) The evening followed a Thursday night party for Kors’ recently opened Shanghai flagship in the city’s Jing An Kerry Centre; it is the brand’s largest to date in China and brings its tally there to about forty. Sixty more are planned for the next five years. Model Karmen Pedaru, who wore the show’s finale gown, a slinky plunge-front number in cherry red with a matching fox fur stole, shares some photos from the Shanghai event. Click for a slideshow of her snaps.
Nick Knight and SHOWstudio just launched a series of video interviews called “Subjective” that attempt to tell the history of contemporary fashion photography as seen through the eyes of models. His first subject: Kate Moss. Moss shares stories with Knight about her early modeling days, living off of fish and chips and Guinness, shooting with Corinne Day, and getting flack for being a heroin-cheeked waif—”I’m a fabulous scapegoat,” she says. The conversation is casual, intimate; Moss is charming and beautiful. What Knight says about her early photos remains true: “It’s a very powerful thing to have that honesty and fragility.” Head over to SHOWstudio to watch.
Ever wonder what it’s like to play dress-up with Kate Moss? Now you can (sort of) with a $13 book and a pair of scissors. Anthropologie now stocks a paper-doll book featuring Ms. Moss and a wardrobe of covetable outfits in which to “dress her,” like a body-con dress, Breton-striped frock, and high-waisted flares. The book’s label, I Love Mel, also sells Miley Cyrus paper dolls, a Benedict Cumberbatch coloring book, a Girls necklace, and Ryan Gosling earrings, among other quirky items. We’re guessing it has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for fangirls everywhere.
Just when we thought model-slash-singer was the new model-slash-actress, Cara Delevingne takes the theory to the next level by covering all the bases simultaneously. The model-slash-singer-slash-actress has reportedly landed a small role in Joe Wright’s new adaptation of Peter Pan. Slated to hit theaters in 2015, the film boasts an impressive cast including Amanda Seyfried (as Mary), Hugh Jackman (as Blackbeard), and Rooney Mara (as Tiger Lily). This marks the second time Delevingne and Wright have worked together, the first being the catwalker’s film debut in Anna Karenina. So, what can’t Cara do? She models. She sings. She acts. And if this Burberry moment is any indication, she even flies.