24 July 2008

Global Vogue Of The Oriental Face

(24 Jul 2008) - Shanghai-born Du Juan is a Chinese supermodel and the first Oriental model to grace the front cover of the prestigious French Vogue magazine back in 2006. 2 years later in April 2008, she was again featured by French Vogue magazine as Top Model.

Oriental presence in the Western world started humbly in the early days and was led by the men who forayed into Hollywood. Names ranging from Bruce Lee to Chow Yun Fatt to John Woo to Jackie Chan are all familiar household names in the West. The women were not far behind with Joan Chen to Gong Li to Zhang Ziyi, just to name a few.

Perhaps the milestone happened in the year 2000 where the hit movie "Crouch Tiger, Hidden Dragon" scored big at the Academy Awards and the walk of the red carpet prior, an fashion event on its own merit, finally put an Oriental face to glamour fashion.

The rest, if I may steal an old cliché, is history.

So the question now is if the Oriental face will be the next fad in the global fashion industry? What would be the impact?

I would have to say in my humble opinion, yes to the short term and no the long term.

Yes, the Oriental face is the current new curiousity of the fashion world. Move aside Naomi Campbell (African). Step away Adriana Lima (Latina). Get lost Kate Moss (Caucasian)!


It's true that the Western world are more interested in us especially when we are starting to gain more visibility. We had the football World Cup held in Korea and Japan back in 2002 and we now have the Beijing Olympics due to start only in a matter of days. In the past, we see very few Oriental models on the international catwalks is perhaps due to the fact that body shape and size differs too much from their western counter-parts, thus making it extremely difficult to include them as part of the fashion program master plan. This however, is a thing of the past as perhaps with better nutrition, the gap between Oriental and Western body shapes and size are now very very close. Tall Oriental models are easily spotted everywhere these days.

The true pushing force to launch the Oriental face to the global arena is actually MONEY. China's money to be exact.

Over the years, China's economy has grown from strength to strength at such a dizzy pace that it is now merely a matter of time before China surpasses USA as the global leader in the world's economy. We may all end up working for the Chinese Lao Ban one day, like it or not.

The buying power of the Chinese is so great in the modern day that it would be foolish for the fashion houses to ignore this juicy slice of lucrative pie. The proud French have already relented and accepted the Chinese drinking their Bordeaux with 7-UP. So how hard can it be now to put an Oriental face on their latest catwalk?

The Chinese are not only here to stay, they will buy the catwalk too while sipping cognac stirred with green tea.

Long term-wise, it is not that big of a deal as the novelty will eventually die down as human civilisation heads towards homogeneity. By then, the Oriental face will be no more peculiar than a Latino or Caucasian or African.

So no. Not everything will go Oriental at the end of the day, but we will start to see more and more designs with Oriental inspiration.

Man Tou and Camembert, anyone?

JayWalk is a guy who is not stupid enough to ink a refrigeration symbol on his wrist permanently, not rich enough to afford plastic surgery, not popular enough to win an OMY blog nomination, not brave enough to camwhore, not young enough to get away with wRitInG aLtErnAtE cAps, not old enough to get MRT senior citizen discount, not Beng enough to have a pack of Marlboro under the shoulder of his t-shirt nor AngMoh enough to drink tea with the pinkie sticking out. Yet, "All Your XMMs Are Belong To JayWalk" as the Tok Kok King pulls off a literary smoke grenade piece on the fashion world. Go figure.

Image Credit:

- Voxeros

1. Ruok left...
Thursday, 24 July 2008 9:24 am
All hail the chinks! They will be the chink in their western armour!
But seriously, I'm kinda glad Chinese and Asians are making their mark these days. New World Order akan datang!

2. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 24 July 2008 11:06 am :: 
ruok: You do know that "chink" is a derogatory term right? Then again, I think we can get away since we are talking about ourselves, just as we always see African-American call each other the "N" word.

But yeah, the Chinese will rule the world one day.

3. spiller left...
Thursday, 24 July 2008 1:51 pm
it puzzles me that i have not heard/seen any famous model from Japan so far. those in catwalk la, not those in AV.
any idea? maybe the sex dominance factor still counts in Japan?

4. Dzigna left...
Thursday, 24 July 2008 2:12 pm ::
how about Riyo Mori? It's been a while since an Asian won the Miss Universe title!

5. darkelfin left...
Thursday, 24 July 2008 4:13 pm
to steal a quote from jim rogers, ""If you were smart in 1807 you moved to London, if you were smart in 1907 you moved to New York City, and if you are smart in 2007 you move to Asia."

6. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 24 July 2008 4:58 pm :: 
Spiller: Anne Watanabe, daughter of saxophonist Ken Watanabe's daughter comes to mind. Perhaps, we only pay attention to Chinese that we overlooked the crop of Japanese supermodels. Thus, create the impression that Japanese supermodels don't exist.

Dzigna: Miss Universe is more of a goodwill ambassador role rather than commercial modeling, although I don't see how a Ms Universe cannot be a supermodel.

Darkelfin: Well said. I couldn't agree more.

7. Posh left...
Friday, 25 July 2008 10:28 am
there's Ai Tominaga, from Japan as well.... Ai Tominaga has this quiet elegance about her which sets her apart from your run of the mill models. And, from China, there's Emma Pei, Liu Wen. From Korea, Hye Park. All these supermodels are making Asia felt on the modelling scene. On the home front, Sheila Sim, would be the girl to watch. OK, that's it, my two cents' worth.

8. JayWalk left...
Friday, 25 July 2008 11:02 am :: 
Posh: You are quite right. The impression that there isn't many asian top models is more so due to the lack of coverage by our own local media. Unless you have a personal interest in this area and would diligently scour the web for the latest updates on them, the rest of us would be solely dependent on our local mainstream media for update feeds.

As for Sheila Sim, I am personally not impressed. Lack the killer model aura.

9. Posh left...
Friday, 25 July 2008 12:06 pm
well, I do have an interest in fashion and the like, so aint too hard to keep up. Sheila is already fronting the Fall/Winter 08/09 campaign for Ashley Isham. She will develop in time to come. You can call me a snob, but am not a fan or devotee of the local fashion mainstream. I appreciate haute couture, just like the finer things in life. Again, my two cents' worth.

10. JayWalk left...
Friday, 25 July 2008 2:18 pm :: 
Posh: Perhaps in years to come, Sheila Sim may develop further and become a more successful model. However, time is never in favour of model, by then she may be too old to be of marketable value.

11. dzigna left...
Friday, 25 July 2008 5:40 pm ::
no seriously...
I love sheila sim! She was from ngee ann! hahaha =)

12. JayWalk left...
Friday, 25 July 2008 6:36 pm :: 
Dzigna: Well, while I appreciate that she helps put Singapore onto the map but standing her side by side with the top models of the world, she still has a lot of ground to cover. I wish her all the success.

13. grasshopper left...
Sunday, 27 July 2008 7:20 am
clap clap clap. I haven't been reading blogs for a while, but I'm back. And glad to see you posted something pretty~ Next time I on blog-hiatus again, I'll ask you to guest blog also can? BTW, we should be having wine tomorrow.......could've should've would've.....blah.

14. JayWalk left...
Monday, 28 July 2008 9:26 am :: 
Grasshopper: You sure your wanna hand over the controls of your blog to me? Think again! And yeah, could've, would've, should've. We could've been drinking during happy hour right about now!! Damn.

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