China Rising

November 27th, 2013

China Rising
China’s international impact is undeniable, so it should come as no surprise that China’s superstar models are among the most in demand women in the world. The new generation of budding supermodels have made names for themselves with top tier bookings – racking up major catwalk appearances, coveted covers and landmark campaigns. Liu Wen, Xiao Wen Ju and Tian Yi are just three of the exceptional young ladies breaking down boundaries with unparalleled grace and they feature here in China Rising, a stunning moving image original Models.com editorial by Santiago & Mauricio Sierra. Though each girl has her own unique allure and dynamic presence the beautiful trio is part of a larger movement – one that has come to influence fashion as a whole.

刘雯: Liu Wen / The Society
雎晓雯: Xiao Wen Ju / IMG
游天翼: Tian Yi / Fusion

Photographed by Santiago & Mauricio Sierra / Cadence NY for Models.com
Styled by Charles Varenne / Management + Artists
Creative direction: Stephan Moskovic

Make up: Serge Hodonou
Hair: Diego Da Silva / Tim Howard Management
Manicurist: Dawn Sterling / MAM
Sound Design: Raphaël Parpex
Retouching: Blank Digital

Text: Janelle Okwodu
Production coordinator: Kristen Bolt

Produced by Cesar Leon for Santiago and Mauricio
Special thanks: Blank Digital, Neo Studios & ATS

Liu Wen‘s rise to international supermodel is a remarkable story of groundbreaking moments, not just for Liu but for the industry as a whole. The Yongzhou born beauty is now a familiar face in pages of glossy magazines, but it wasn’t too long ago that seeing a Chinese model in high fashion’s upper echelon was a rarity. With her undeniable beauty and innate charm, Liu broke boundaries and became the official face of China’s cutting edge fashion scene and its global impact. You can’t talk about the rise of the Chinese luxury market without a nod to its most elegant representative. As the first Chinese face of Estee Lauder, the first Asian model to ever walk the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and the first to land a place on the top earners list, Liu has cemented herself as a game-changer.

Though she never dreamed of modeling full time, a win in a hometown contest gave her the idea that a career in fashion could be in her future. Liu’s fate was sealed after she was discovered in Beijing by a French fashion stylist and immediately cast in Steven Meisel’s Calvin Klein fragrance ads. It wasn’t long before she was whisked away to the runways of Milan and Paris, appearing at shows like Burberry, Jean Paul Gaultier and Maison Martin Margiela. Once the momentum built it only seemed to grow and with each season Liu added another key booking, or enviable campaign to her already impressive resume. By the time 2010 rolled around Liu had the distinction of being one of the most booked Chinese models of all time.

Today Liu stands as a leader on and off the catwalk, utilizing her supermodel status to support charity projects like Make A Wish. Naturally you’ll still find her on the runways for brands like Calvin Klein, Hermes and Chanel and in the pages of prestige publications like Vogue China, Vogue Paris, Pop and W, but her presence extends beyond fashion. You’re just as likely to find Liu Wen on the red carpet at Cannes, or being mentioned as one of China’s top influencers as you are to see her staring back at you from the pages of a magazine. No matter where you find her, Liu Wen manages to shine and her winning combination of beauty, humor and humility is sure to keep her in high demand for years to come.


Liu Wen is wearing all clothes and accessories by Lanvin

If there was an award for editorial mvp, Xiao Wen Ju would have it. Since she appeared on the scene, Xiao Wen has become a favorite of photographers and designers alike. Whether it’s a street style photog attempting to snap her latest off-the-runway look, or key work with names like Karl Lagerfeld, Mert & Marcus, Richard Burbridge and Solve Sundsbo, Xiao Wen manages to shine with her signature mix of girlishness and sophistication. While other models specialize in aloof cool, the versatile Xiao Wen manages to radiate a combination of sophistication and cute that has proven irresistible.

Xiao Wen’s path towards superstardom began upon entering a local contest and subsequently being scouted by IMG. Soon she found herself one of the top models in China, appearing in the pages of Vogue, Bazaar and every magazine in-between. It was only a matter of time before the she would go on to conquer the runways and soon Xiao Wen was front and center on the catwalks of Marc Jacobs (who she lists as a favorite designer), Louis Vuitton, Prada and Hermes. Following that success up with a Marc Jacobs campaign and becoming the brand’s first Asian campaign star – was a natural progression.

Throughout it all Xiao Wen has maintained her effervescent personality – backstage you’ll never find her without a smile, or a witty anecdote. Though she’s one of the most recognizable faces of the moment she takes her success in stride, pushing towards the next goal without getting caught in the fashion chaos. Ask her what she’d like for the future and while becoming the next supermodel does rate high on the list, her aspirations also include studying dance, spending more time with family and of course never forgetting to smile.


Xiao Wen Ju is wearing all clothes and accessories by Burberry

Though she is one of the new kids on the block, the elegant Tian Yi‘s ascent to the top has been straight out of a storybook. Many models begin their careers by uploading a few pictures to Models.com, but few are scouted just days after posting their images online and subsequently whisked off to start an impressive fashion season. In her first year alone Tian walked Prada, Helmut Lang, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton – an impressive debut for any newcomer but don’t chalk it up to beginner’s luck. The ease at which Tian took to the runways is a testament to her appeal as a model, though she’s still a newbie she carries herself with the grace of a seasoned professional.

Her professionalism is part of what has impressed everyone from Vogue China’s editor in chief, Angelica Cheung – who listed Tian among her favorite new models, to photographers like Steven Meisel, Daniel Jackson and Mario Testino. At just 19 Tian has already racked up an impressive list of industry veterans who consider her a talent to watch. Her star continues to rise and with regular appearances in Vogue China, Bazaar China, Interview and a campaign slate that includes the likes of Louis Vuitton, Vera Wang and Dsquared2, Tian’s bright future is seemingly assured.

Success may have come early, but Tian maintains her humility by indulging in the same off-duty fun any teenager year old would enjoy. Known for her love of practical jokes and infectious laughter, she brings a touch of fun to every project. When she isn’t making her way down the catwalk, she spends time indulging in her passions including interior design and literature; chic hobbies that keep this bubbly beauty grounded even as her career soars to new heights. With a full slate of exciting bookings on the horizon and show season right around the corner you expect to see Tian popping up in all the right places.


Tian Yi is wearing all clothes and accessories by Balmain

Related posts:

Posted in Cover story, Parallax, Videos | 33 Comments »