>> Is the current rise of Asian models a moment or a movement? The latter, Kwok Chan, director of international scouting at Marilyn Agency (which represents Liu Wen), tells Vogue in its December 2010 issue. Curiously, of all the most in-demand Asian models currently, none of them are Asian-American. "The only way I can explain why there are no big Asian-American names is, why are photo shoots done in some exotic locale and it looks like you've shot in someone's backyard?" Chan says. "Fashion is fantasy; it's about perception."
Dick Page, creative director of Shiseido, chalks up Asian models' increased visibility to "most economics. Everybody in the fashion/beauty industry recognizes the importance of global markets, and currently, China, Taiwan, and South Korea are at the forefront. The upshot is that customers want to see some version of themselves represented." And Anita Bitton, a casting director who has worked on Alexander Wang's shows and Gap campaigns, says that an ease in travel restrictions could also be a contributor: "Some of these girls had trouble obtaining work visas."
Liu Wen herself has noted a change within the last two seasons: "The challenge for me, and for Asian models in general, has been convincing editors, stylists, and photographers that we can have mass appeal. "But Asian, especially Chinese, models have become a stronger presence. Just a season or two ago, there weren't many models for me to talk with backstage in my native Mandarin. Now I usually have no trouble finding someone at any show." Du Juan adds: "There still are brands or clients that would not consider using an Asian model, but things are changing dramatically and quickly. I am not so sure if being Asian was or is a hindrance. In fact, I think it is a plus."
Because of the shift, Angelica Cheung, editor in chief of Vogue China, has noticed a shift in the Chinese ideal of beauty: "Traditionally the Chinese favored a classic kind of beauty — big, round eyes, cute small mouth, a high nose, and very fair skin. The Chinese models who have made it internationally are not beauties in the traditional sense, so they are modernizing the concept of beauty in China. When I was growing up in the seventies, everyone wore a blue, gray, or green Mao suit — there was no chance for women to be glamorous or different. Now you see young Chinese trying to be radical by dyeing their hair blonde or blue, sporting tattoos. It is a combination of copying what they see is popular in the Western world and trying to stand out in a nation where almost all of the 1.3 billion population have straight black hair and brown eyes. I like to joke that in less than a decade, China has gone from Karl Marx to Karl Lagerfeld!”
Our typical day at the beach consists of obsessive reapplications of the highest SPF, big floppy hats that shield our skin from the sun, and sitting under excessively large umbrellas. Designer Michael Kors's version of beach beauty? It's a lot more glamorous, and even a little naughty. That's because makeup artist Dick Page didn't stop after the usual blizzard of bronzer at the Kors show. This morning, he added plenty of pink to models' faces — so that they looked a little sunburned! (Scandal!!!) To find out more, just keep reading.
Backstage at Alexander Wang, the designer told me his inspiration for the hair and makeup was "sweat." Well, he couldn't have picked a more humid and rainy day to show.
Just as hot-and-bothered was the beauty look. Makeup artist Dick Page described it as "the walk of shame — when you have to go into the subway station, everyone is going to work, and you're going home."
To that end, models' hair and faces were sprayed with Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray before they hit the runway. "The girls look very hot, like they've been exerting themselves," explained head hairstylist Eugene Souleiman, who used Aveda products. "It's about action, sporty, really cool-looking girls that are tough. Really cool girls don't do too much with their hair because they don't need to. Fast life, no time to do her hair!" The result? Models who looked like they got caught in the same 90-degree downpour the audience did, only infinitely more glamorous. Real cool girls indeed.
For the specifics on the hair and makeup, plus backstage photos, read more
I just got back from Proenza Schouler, where long hair and cobalt blue eyes reigned. "It's never just about one feature, even if it's the most prominent thing, because everything has to work in tandem," said lead makeup artist Dick Page, who was remarkably calm despite the flurry of activity surrounding him. "The look is strong, but it's very easy as well."
To create the look, Page covered eyelids with a pearly gray cream shadow, then brushed cobalt blue shadow on top. Next, he surrounded the eye with teal shadow and added silver and gold highlights under the eyes. Lips went beige with Shiseido Automatic Lip Crayon in LC1, and as for the rest? No mascara, no blush—no kidding! I love seeing these bold shades on the runway, and I can't wait to see what's to come later this week.
I always enjoy United Bamboo shows because the clothing is forward-thinking. At today's show, the makeup was just as innovative, featuring a double-toned effect on eyes. In creating this look, Dick Page, Artistic Director of Shiseido The Makeup, referred to how teenage girls experiment with makeup. "It's probably more like what teenage girls of my generation would have liked, back in the 1700s," he joked.
As complex as the effect is, this look uses relatively few products. Page used the Color Stick on eyes, then brushed on a shiny, silvery aqua on the inner corner of the eye and the lid. Then, the outer eye gets a wing of copper-hued shadow. Skin was essentially bare—just a bit of concealer and powder—and lips literally were bare. Page sent the models out with nothing but lip balm, which inspired me to go nude for the rest of the day. (Well, on my lips, at least.)