Signs of the increasing value of the Chinese fashion market, major cosmetics and fashion powerhouses are signing up Asian models.
This week, Maybelline signed twenty-year-old Chinese model Shu Pei to its roster of beauties including Christy Turlington, Erin Wasson, Julia Stegner, Zhang Ziyi, and Emily DiDonato. Pei became the second Asian model to sign a lucrative cosmetics contract this year. Earlier, Estee Lauder signed Liu Wen, a 22-year-old Chinese supermodel who became the first Asian face of the U.S. company. A star in China already, Wen appears in September’s U.S. edition of Vogue.
Jane Herzmark Hudis, Estee Launder’s global brand president, has the perfect reason for the company’s new choice. “China is our fastest-growing market,what better way to honor that than to hire a native of the country?” she told W magazine.
Rivals have already gotten into the game. In January, Shu Uemura of L’Oreal signed China’s rising Chinese actress Jiang Yiyan as its image in the country. In 2009, Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido hired Chang Chunxiao, another Chinese model from Beijing, to help promote its EUDERMINE line in China.
Aside from cosmetics companies, Chinese faces are also increasingly spotted at recent international fashion shows and ads. Model Liu Wen, for example, has been seen in ads from Calvin Klein, in Stella McCartney shows and most often in fashion magazines such as Vogue China and Harper’s Bazaar. In late 2009, she was also signed by Victoria’s Secret as the lingerie maker’s first Asian face, even though the company has no stores in China yet.