US fashion fiend takes in country's design scene

Updated: 2010-12-02 09:14

By Gan Tian (China Daily)

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Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, admits the stories in The Devil Wears Prada are true.

"I beat all my assistants, lock them in a cupboard, and don't pay them You can ask Sylvana. She used to be my assistant," Wintour joked while opening her speech at the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Paying her first visit to China, the real "devil" took a look around at the country's fashion scene, communicated with the Vogue China team, and shared her stories face-to-face with hundreds of young people.

The lecture hall of the academy erupted in screams when she walked in wearing a blue Prada dress, her trademark hairstyle and a pair of oversized sunglasses.

In her hour-long speech Wintour shared many tips with would-be fashion editors.

"You should understand how everything works. Expose yourself to everything and learn as much as you can," she said.

US fashion fiend takes in country's design scene

During her visit to Vogue China's office, she said the scene reminded her of the time she was working at Harpers & Queen in the 1970s. Every editor there was multitasking: taking pictures, writing captions, covering the market, and doing the layouts.

One of the reasons for coming to China, Wintour says, is the fact that this is becoming an incredibly important market, and American fashion brands are taking note.

"I think we are behind European brands to some extent. I wanted to encourage them (American fashion labels) to open stores here. I think it would have been hard for me to give advice to designers at home, if I hadn't visited here myself," Wintour says.

She dropped in at Sanlitun's BNC store that stocks Chinese designs, but did not pick up anything.

"I'm not quite qualified to judge Chinese fashions," she says when asked for her impressions of the store's collection.

She adds there is very little knowledge in the West of what Chinese designers are doing at the moment.

"There is nearly no possibility of encouraging the right Chinese designers to come and present their clothes in United States or in Europe," she says.

Wintour suggests it is very important to convey exactly what "Made in China" means.

"Obviously, China is a big manufacturing country in terms of fashion, but I think 'Made in China' should also highlight the design talent, quality, and innovation aspects."

Wintour says she sees great individuality in the way people here dress.

"I'm impressed by the variety of hair colors I've seen here, and the choice of hats. Fashion is all about expressing yourself," she says.


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