Is China reinventing or aping Hollywood? In its inaugural “Cinema Issue” Vogue China‘s January cover suggests that China is no longer importing European and American symbols of glamour but growing its own symbols—sort of.
The 402-page January issue features top Chinese movie stars like Li Bingbing and Hu Jun, meticulously styled to mirror Hollywood legends.
The cover has Li Bingbing styled like a sultry Lauren Bacall. A spread titled “Good Night and Good Luck” pictures actor Hu Jun styled in evocative black and white photography to mirror the journalist Edward R. Murrow. (Jun looks correctly upset with a pencil dangling from side of his mouth like a cigarette.)
The January “Cinema Issue” comes at a time when China is globally recognized as a card-calling economic powerhouse that has come into its own.
The world’s top stylists, photographers, and creative consultants can be easily flown in at the flick of a smartphone to catapult home-grown talent to global stature. The Cinema issue also appears at a time when movie-ticket sales are exceptionally brisk, according to industry watchers. All round, the issue has struck a decidely home-grown chord.
Commenting, Vogue China Editor Angelica Cheung said today’s woman in China isn’t satisfied seeing only pictures of Western starlets like Kate Winslet, Julia Roberts, or Nicole Kidman. “It was time to put some of our actors into context—global context.”
Smart move. The January issue of any fashion book, falling between shows of new collections, tends to show lackluster sales. The 402-page Cinema Issue will have sold nearly 600,000 by month’s end, not shabby.
Winners in Vogue China include owners, Conde Nast and its partners, state-owned China Pictorial Publishing House.
Fashion insiders in the West also see Vogue China as having achieved a special je ne sais quoi in a global context.
The Ford Models blog, for one, puts Vogue China at the top of the Condé Nast empire of glossies. “Vogue China has to be this page’s favorite. It is easily the priciest Condé Nast glossy on offer in North America, $34.95 at our West Village newsstand, but consistently boasts many of the the better editorials.”
photo credit: t.sina.com.cn/voguechina