9 posts tagged "Xiao Wen Ju"
Cristóbal Balenciaga reputedly made only three journeys afield in his lifetime and certainly never traveled anywhere as far-flung as Asia. However, forty-odd years after his passing, the house of Balenciaga, with Alexander Wang at the helm, staged its own intrepid China expedition, bringing forty-eight archive pieces to Beijing.
Handpicked by Wang, the selection from Cristóbal Balenciaga’s Parisian years (1937 to 1968) highlighted the key pieces in his oeuvre. “I think it would be doing an injustice for everybody not to see it,” Wang explained. Enshrined at the center of the exhibition, therefore, was the famous Infanta dress (1949), which shows the unremitting influence of Balenciaga’s Spanish heritage on his work; the Babydoll dress of 1958; and the famed wedding dress from his last collection presented in 1967.
Though he epitomized that old world of couture, Balenciaga was the greatest pioneer of them all. Blockbuster pieces aside, the Fishnet dress (1964), an overlay of net upon a black sheath inspired by the fishermen in his hometown of Getaria, and a reversible fur-lined silk-nylon coat (1959) were just a few examples of the utterly modern. A little-known fact about the famously reticent designer was his penchant for filming his presentations in the last decade of his career, and the videos provided illuminating glimpses of “the master of us all” at work. A suit worn by Marlene Dietrich in the 1950s and the Sari dress, a design owned by Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor, and Dodie Rosekrans, also served as a reminder of his legendary clientele.
The venue, the China Academy of Oil Painting, was chosen for the church-like structure in its midst (actually the school’s lecture hall), where Balenciaga’s SS’14 collection was presented. “We could have easily shown the Fall collection,” Wang explained before the show, “but I wanted something that would penetrate immediately.” Along with the existing outfits, therefore, the models (Shu Pei, Ming Xi, Xiao Wen Ju, Hanne Gaby Odiele, et al.) sported fifteen new looks from a capsule collection released exclusively in Balenciaga’s China stores immediately following the show.
Wondering how models keep themselves entertained backstage during hours of hair and makeup? Grace Mahary, who recently shared her fashion week essentials with Style.com, is “currently obsessed” with MomentCam, a new photo-editing app that transforms camera pictures into fun, unpredictable caricatures. Along with a sketchy selfie (above), Mahary sent along several tongue-in-cheek portraits of fellow catwalkers, including Caroline Brasch Nielsen, Xiao Wen Ju, Tilda Lindstam, and Hanne Gaby Odiele (below). Over the next month, we’re hoping to see more MomentCam creations starring industry regulars. Could you imagine a cartoon Karl, Alber, or Pat McGrath? The possibilities are endless.
MomentCam is available at the iTunes App Store. Visit www.itunes.com.
The Karl caravan has arrived in Singapore. Lagerfeld and forty-seven models are set up at the city’s famous Raffles Hotel, the gorgeous nineteenth-century English-colonial hotel, with enough hardworking dressers, stylists, and global PR reps attending them to put you in mind of a postcolonial Downton Abbey. Today, they’ll put on Chanel’s Cruise show. But last night, it was a party for a prelude: a pair of short films, screened alfresco in the hotel courtyard, beside which Maugham and Hemingway sat in the Long Bar, sipping Singapore Slings.
Leave it to Lagerfeld to make not one, but two films. The preview and the movie: They just go together, he explained. So Women Only featured a raft of his favorite girls—Kati, Cara, Lindsey, Lina, Xiao Wen, Soo Joo, et al., all clad in Chanel Pre-Fall—piling into a movie theater for the debut of a new film. Then the film within the film: Naturally, it’s a little number by Lagerfeld. Once Upon a Time… takes us back a century, to the opening of Gabrielle Chanel’s shop in the French resort town of Deauville. It opens with a scene of two servant girls impugning the name of Chanel. “Who is Gabrielle Chanel?” they wonder as they wander past her shop. “I don’t know, but she has no taste.”
But he who laughs last laughs best. Business starts out slow for Coco Chanel (Keira Knightley, absent from this Singaporean affair, on her honeymoon) and her partner/confidante Aunt Adrienne (Clotilde Hesme), but the crème de la crème of Riviera society eventually come swishing through her door. That Chanel girl, the consensus eventually runs, she’s really got something.
So does her latter-day inheritor, Karl Lagerfeld. “I did everything,” Lagerfeld said after the applause had died down. “I designed the set, I made the costumes, I made the characters, I made the dialogue. I make everything—otherwise, I’m not interested. I could never work with somebody who makes the dialogue, because I want them to talk the way I’m thinking.” He built a town from scratch—the whole thing was shot at a Paris film studio—and assembled a cast of thousands. (Well, 160 extras, at least; but as Hesme laughed, “I think the budget is much larger than the film I did before.”) And he bravely tossed the book out and shot without a script, calling out lines just before takes and encouraging his actresses to improvise. A task like that separates the wheat from the chaff. And who knows, some stars may have been born. Lagerfeld saved special mention for Ashleigh Good, who played the Swedish actress Jacqueline Forzane, and he wasn’t the only one. “Keira was impressed by Ashleigh,” he said gravely. As for others—well, the catwalk is a fine consolation.
Lagerfeld is as new to filmmaking as many of his actresses, but Karl’s gals—out in force tonight to celebrate—were full of praise for their fledgling director. “It was great fun—it was a giant playground,” said Stella Tennant, fresh into town from the Met Gala, who played Lady de Grey, Oscar Wilde’s patroness. “He’s very fresh,” added Caroline de Maigret, who played the towering Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein. (Lagerfeld made her even more towering by dismissing all but the shortest extras for her scene.) “He’s very enthusiastic, excited. He’s laughing, ‘Ah, brilliant, brilliant!’
“He gets excited by everything he doesn’t know,” she declared, stubbing out her cigarette—usually a hot-button issue in law-abiding Singapore, but Karl’s night, Karl’s rules. “That’s his power. That’s what drives him, the unknown.”
At the Style.com offices we’ve become just about immune to models with great off-duty style. But these girls have a way of getting to trends before the average shopper—even before they hit the runway. Take Xiao Wen Ju, for example, who was snapped in London in a black and white ensemble much like those that covered the catwalks throughout fashion month. From the chunky oversized knit to the distressed leggings and black motorcycle booties, her outfit looks totally fresh and comfortable. Get the look with the essentials below.
From top left: Helmut Lang sweater, $471.72, available at www.farfetch.com; Alexander Wang Rafael bag, $720, available at www.ssense.com; McQ Alexander McQueen boots, $508.74, available at www.my-wardrobe.com; DRK SHDW by Rick Owens jeans, $386, available at www.lagarconne.com.
Lane Crawford, one of the top shopping destinations in the Far East, has a history of tapping top Asian models for its ads, and this season is no different. This time around, the retailer brought on Ming Xi, Xiao Wen Ju, and Wang Xiao to star in its Fall campaign, shot by Nick Knight. Edward Enninful styled the girls wearing the latest designer pieces from Alexander McQueen, Lanvin, Celine, Stella McCartney, Yves Saint Laurent, and more.
“The concept revolves around the idea of three tribes: Hard Leather, Tribal Street Wear, and Geometrics,” Enninful tells Style.com. “I wanted to play with masculine and feminine, androgyny is always a theme that works, and an exaggerated sense of color and proportion always creates exciting imagery.” Here, Style.com has an exclusive first look at the ad images and the accompanying campaign film.