On a gray Saturday afternoon in early March, Uma Wang was in her sliver of a Paris showroom on Rue Sainte-Anastase in the Marais, working as designer, sales agent and model, as she tried on a long black coat for a pair of Australian buyers. Everything in the room, from the clothes on the racks to the clothes on Wang’s back, was black, with two exceptions: the designer’s jolting, size 41 men’s oxfords, and a crimson velvet dress that hung in the window. “We don’t really use red, but everyone thinks it’s a beautiful color,” says Wang. “It’s also very Chinese.”
The same can be said for the 39-year-old Wang, who, unlike Vera Wang and Alexander Wang, is actually from and still lives in China. She grew up in a family of doctors in the northern Mainland before moving to Shanghai to study fashion—knitwear, specifically—18 years ago. Wang is one of the few Chinese designers to gain notice on the high-end international fashion circuit, showing her fall collection, her first solo runway show, in front of an audience of 700 during Milan Fashion Week. Wang has also been taken into the Vogue incubator, with supporters in Angelica Cheung of Vogue China, Franca Sozzani of Vogue Italia and Anna Wintour. Beginning in May, Wang will be in New York as part of a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund exchange program, wherein she will spend time learning the American fashion system, while Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler do the same in Shanghai.
It’s a big moment for Wang, who launched her collection in 2005 after making the bold decision to leave her cushy gig as head designer of a local Chinese label to study at Central Saint Martins. “It was so boring,” says Wang of that first design job. “It was too normal. Not exciting. I wanted to get out of China for some fresh air, to see something new.” She’s well aware that the tables have turned, with China finding a captive audience in the West, the fashion industry especially. It’s a fact that Wang credits, at least partially, for the sudden uptick in interest in her line.
“Everything came together,” she says. “China became really popular. People want to see not only the market, but they really want to know about it.”
A show of nationalist pride is not why Wang chose to buck her own proclivity for a dark palette—Yohji Yamamoto is a major influence—by putting red in her fall collection. Rather, a spring collaboration with Swatch was the genesis of the crimson dress, designed to color-coordinate with one of the watches. Such pragmatic measures are becoming increasingly important to Wang as she tries to build her international business. Her clothes are carried in 15 stores globally (including Vertice London, DAAD Dantone in Milan, A Piedi Nudi nel Parco in Florence), though she has yet to break into the U.S. “It’s not only creativity,” notes Wang. “You have to be balanced. With no money, you cannot do anything.”
In honor the @CFDA’s announcement of @iamnaomicampbell receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2018 #CFDAAwards, which will take place on June 4, here’s a #tbt of the supermodel on @michaelkors’ runway in 1991. #wwdfashion #wwdarchive (📷: George Chinsee)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.