THE trending topic in China Fashion these days is the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2017, with the brand’s Angels hitting Shanghai catwalks this November. From China’s Next Lingerie Top Model to flagship stores and Weibo tantrums… Flying high or free falling?
“The program has all the usual elements of model-elimination shows: Beauty, jealousy, the chance for fame and fortune — and a strong dose of shade.” Chen Na reports for Sixth Tone
Temper Magazine’s Trending segment casts a net upon all that is throwing tantrums within the world of China Fashion across a variety of global sources. This very necessary segment makes for a collection of largely non-Temper Magazine-original content dipping its toe into the deep indigo-dyed pool that is the ocean of Middle Kingdom fashionable astonishment.
This time around, we’re flying high as kite. Angel-style.
In a teaser of more to come, global lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret has launched a reality TV show in China ahead of its much-heralded annual fashion show, to be held in Shanghai later this year. Chen Na reports for Sixth Tone:
The first episode of “Road to the Runway” (天使之路) features models from all over China vying for one coveted spot in the upcoming fashion parade. The show was available on streaming sites Tencent Video and iQiyi on Thursday evening. By noon on Friday, the debut episode had been viewed 37.6 million times.
Similar in format to programs such as “America’s Next Top Model,” the program has all the usual elements of model-elimination shows: Beauty, jealousy, the chance for fame and fortune — and a strong dose of shade.
Model Kang Yaxin, better-known by her English name Naomi, put it bluntly when she said in an on-camera interview that the show for her was about two things: Big bucks and a big house.
Thursday night’s episode featured 30 fashion hopefuls, most of whom were professional models. At the end of the 88-minute broadcast, that number had been whittled down to just 15.
The brand’s attempts to woo Chinese customers have received mixed reactions. During last year’s show in Paris, the company came under fire for what some audiences called ‘cultural appropriation’.
In recent years, Victoria’s Secret has doubled down in China as sales wane in its home market, the United States. The company opened its first two flagship stores on the Chinese mainland earlier this year: one in Shanghai and one in Chengdu, capital of southwestern Sichuan province. This year’s fashion show, announced earlier this week and slated for late November, will feature the tried-and-true formula of famous supermodels wearing angel wings.
Take a look at the show’s intro (in Chinese, my apologies), courtesy of the “天使之路” YouTube Channel:
The 12-episode “Road to the Runway” also marks Victoria’s Secret first foray into the realm of reality TV. The show opens with a scene of military helicopters. In the accompanying audio track, a male officer, speaking English in a deep and booming voice, says: “Find me the next China’s Victoria’s Secret model.”
“Roger that,” comes an earnest reply from another officer. “I’m on the way for this mission.” In the next scene, an image appears showing a group of models, all clad in lacy lingerie, lying on beds or lazing on sofas.
However, the brand’s attempts to woo Chinese customers have received mixed reactions. During last year’s show in Paris, the company came under fire for what some audiences called cultural appropriation, as supermodels wrapped dragon costumes around their waists and walked the runway in dragon-embroidered boots.
Already, some are none too happy about the prospect of the lingerie brand’s Shanghai showcase, criticizing the planned appearance of famous American model Gigi Hadid in the lineup.
For the full read, switch over to Sixth Tone right here!
“While fashion-conscious netizens are thrilled about the show’s foray into China, others oppose to the casting decisions, citing previous controversial conduct by both Hadid sisters.” Angelina Xu for Jing Daily
Sometimes… You just gotta cut people some slack — and not revert/refer to ye olde “model -dumb” prejudice. Nevertheless, that’s just one/my opinion. As we circle back to the selection of Insta-models Gigi and Bella Hadid, there’s no denying how their inclusion in China’s first Victoria’s Secret Show is throwing quite the online — read: Sina Weibo — temper tantrum. Jing Daily reporter Angelina Xu on August 29 reports:
News about Bella and Gigi Hadid’s selection to walk the runway in the upcoming Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai is trending on Weibo. While fashion-conscious netizens are thrilled about the show’s foray into China and the addition of two big names, others don’t like the casting decision, citing previous controversial conduct by both Hadid sisters. Several Weibo users have brought up Bella Hadid’s controversial Instagram video dating back to February 5, 2017, which shows her sister Gigi, according to commenters, mocking Asians.
In the comments section following the news, some people seemed enraged. One user said, “China does not welcome her,” and followed that up with angry-faced emojis. There are no reports of either sister releasing statements or apologizing after the incident.
For the full read, head on over to Jing Daily right now!
“Relaxing, experiencing nature and laughing are what rejuvenate me and make me feel happy.” Sui He
Cash Cow/Or Credit
In the past 12 months, Victoria’s Secret has gradually stepped up its efforts to cash in on its Chinese client-base as the brand’s gain from its traditional Western market has been sagging — pun intended. In May of this year, the brand’s parent company L Brand reported a loss of seven percent in net sales — from $2.6 billion the year before to $2.4 billion in 2016. The brand’s usual credit has been somewhat impoverished.
China, on the contrary, is one cost-effective market that Victoria’s Secret has high hopes for! A real cash cow, in other words. According to official data provided by the China National Textile Industry Council, the sales in the lingerie market in China reached 100 billion yuan in 2016, with the size of the market crossing the 60 billion yuan (some $9,147,597,000) mark.
Victoria’s Secret fans and critics alike are having one holly jolly good time with daily updates and “scandals” regarding the 2017 show becoming almost too much to devour. I myself watched the show religiously from 2000 until 2012, yet found its original and quintessential stand-out quality to have slightly dwindled in the years thereafter. Nevertheless…
We’re witnessing the reality of Victoria’s Secret wanting to expand its Chinese lingerie market share, as well as the insanity of (fake) tickets to the (invite-only) event being sold via WeChat — live witness right here — with prices starting around 50,000 yuan (around $7,600) each. Angelic or not, we must credit the brand with creating a buzz that stands out from anything else trending in China Fashion right now. They got people intoxicated.
The content of this trending feature was originally written by Chen Na for Sixth Tone (edited by Colum Murphy) and Angelina Xu for Jing Daily. 2017 All rights reserved
Additional editing by Elsbeth van Paridon for Temper Magazine
About Sixth Tone: There are five tones in Mandarin Chinese. When it comes to coverage of China, Sixth Tone believes there is room for other voices that go beyond buzzwords and headlines to tell the uncommon stories of common people. Through fresh takes on trending topics, in-depth features, and illuminating contributions, Sixth Tone covers issues from the perspectives of those most intimately involved to highlight the nuances and complexities of today’s China.
Featured Image: Sui He walks in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2016, Paris. Copyright@Vogue, 2016
Temper Magazine does not own any of the above English content. All featured English content belongs to Liang Chenyu for Sixth Tone 2017. All rights reserved.
After tackling Beijing for some six years where she worked for China International Publishing Group, she spent a moment in time moseying down steep alleyways and writing about their fashionable and underground features in Hong Kong.
Van Paridon most recently managed to claw her way through a Europe-based academic endeavor called "Journalism". 'Tis in such fashion that she has now turned her lust for China Fashion/ Lifestyle and Underground into a full time occupation.
Van Paridon hunts down the latest in Chinese menswear, women’s clothing, designer newbies, established names, changes in the nation’s street scenery, close-ups of particular trends presently at play or of historical socio-cultural value in Chinaplus a selection of budding photographers.
Paired with a deep devotion to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon holds a particular interest in the topics of androgyny, the exploration of individuality and the power that is the Key Opinion Leader (the local term for “influencers”) in contemporary China.