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 his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye