Interesting ads for luxury brands

June 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Those advertisements with a story are always more impressive than just a simply display of its products. Here are some new ads campaigns that I found interesting. Must say, Prada’s directed by Roman Polanski is my favorite!

She’s keeping telling her lonely story but he’s busy trying her Prada coat. Don’t you think it’s funny?

There are 3 different stories about Louis Vuitton’s 3 iconic bags: Keepall, Speedy and Neverfull. Here’s only a short teaser for the Neverfull. You can check their official site to find the full video. Here is the link.

Dior doesn’t have a clear story but I still love it! Dior+Versailles+Depeche, who can resist it! Btw, Daria looks so gorgeous so is that Chinese rising star Xiaowen Ju:)

Jason Wu’s Inspired Designs

March 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

First being known as a designer for First Lady, Jason Wu’s designs are always clean, classic and feminine. From a evening gown to a casual daywear, his pieces have a consistent taste of modern and fashion but still wearable.  Last month, he just launched a shopping frenzy as he sold his limited collection in Target with a price under $60. Some of my friends just went to Target early in the morning, and waited for the door to open. And I was told that the dresses and accessaries were almost out before the noon. I was surprised and encouraged to have a close look at Jason Wu’s design. From the aspect of fashion history, I’m curious about the connection between modern and historic design. Now I’m gonna share you seveal interesting pieces that might show some historical influences.

Does this gorgeous pink dress look like Christian Lacroix’s “le pouf” dress in 80s (Spring 2012)

The wide-leg and high-waisted pants are representative look of Annie Hall in 70s. (Spring/Summer 2011)

The long loose dress with a boxy coat have created a 60s hippie look. (Fall/Winter 2010)

This beautiful circle skirt can be one look of Grace Kelly in the 50s. (Spring 2012)

These high-waisted hot pants are very 60s. (Spring 2012)

The Tubular silhouettes and narrow waist pencil skirt are very 50s. (Spring 2012)

Coco Avant Chanel: The movie and its costume

February 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Coco Avant Chanel is a film talking about the early life of the famed French fashion designer Coco Chanel. The first time I watched this film was two years ago and I was obsessed by her personal charisma and romantic love story. To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention on the clothes at that time. But when we talked about her design in the class, I decided to watch this movie again and this time I was surprisingly fascinated by her simple but modern design.

The film depicted the earlier life of Chanel, before she became a fashion designer. However, her taste of fashion and talent of design didn’t lost in her work as a seamstress and a singer in a bar. Before she started design work for other people, she designed her own clothes which were so different from other women in that time. In the film we can see this contrast was depicted so strongly. When other ladies wore colors, she would be dark; and when others were very feminine, she would be boyish. Fortunately, Chanel had found her own way to be distinct and admired.

There are several scenes that impressed me so much. The first one is Chanel rebuilt a new dress mixing an old dress and a man’s shirt when she was asked to wear a complicated dress with heavy laces and corset. Chanel revolutionized women’s fashion by replacing the traditional corseted silhouette with the comfort of simple and slender one. Her simpler lines of women’s couture led to the popular “flat-chested” look of the 1920s.  In Chanel’s earlier life, she was living in a poor condition and she made this dress with limited resources, only an old dress and a man’s shirt. However, the dress she made for herself without a corset looked almost fluid compared to the heavy fashions of her time. The dress still showed her elegance and creativity and stood out very well.

This scene depicted the emergence of a famous design of Chanel—the mini black dress. I can still remember the first time I saw this scene. Chanel chose the fabric by herself and made this mini black dress with a sleeveless sheath cut just about the knee. She got the full attention of the party when she showed up with this black dress. And that time, black was considered to be a color reserved for funerals and periods of mourning. Chanel was the first one introduced black as a fashion color. In 1926 American Vogue named Coco Chanel black dress “a Ford”, meaning it’s simplicity and it’s potential for an enormous and long-lasting success. It was the little black dress of Chanel that inspired the famous remark of her competitor Paul Poiret: “What has Chanel invented? Deluxe poverty”. She could have never predicted the immediate and lasting love women would have with her simple, chic black dress. As Chanel was quoted, “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” Whether a woman’s little black dress cost $50 or $2,000 her intention is the same: to look effortlessly classic and appropriately sexy in just seconds. While most of us cannot afford to buy Chanel’s breathtakingly beautiful pieces, we can certainly wear our trusty black dresses with the modern, sophisticated attitude she possessed.

I also like Chanel walked along the seaside with a tweed coat. The coat was borrowed for her lover and so was kind of oversized. It is common for us today to wear oversized clothes to create a boyish look. However, it was really something incredible in those days when women should be subordinated to their men and wear corset. In the film, there are several scenes Chanel borrowed clothes from her lovers: white shirts, ties, coats and that inspired her fundamental principles of her art: adapting elements of menswear for a feminine use.

Another interesting scene is Chanel made fun of the over-ornate hates that some women wore: “With that on their head, how can they think!” Chanel was a successful milliner before she made dresses. Compared to those large and ornate hats of the times, her hats were more architectural and less fussy and finally gained popularity among women.

Chanel was her own muse. I think she’s very modern in her design as well as her personality. She believed in herself and decided that what was good on her would be good on everybody else. And for those days, when women were subordinated to men and wearing corsets, she helped women to become free to wear what suits them, not what is the fashion of the time. What made Chanel different was the pure fact that she had a notion that style could be both classic and casual. Chanel had a strong belief that women should dress simply. Chanel said, “I make fashion women can live in, breath in, feel comfortable in and look younger in. Her incontestable influence on fashion and women’s role in society will continue to exist for many years to come.

“Retard” tweets are being tracked!

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Here is a great campaign on social media I recently found. It’s called The Social Challenge, launched by LifeMyWay (a community in Illinois). They are tracking the use of words “retard” and “retarded” on Twitter.

It is reported that the word “retard” is used more than 24,000 times daily on Twitter. And this is more than a simple word to 200,000 people living with developmental disabilities and their families. That’s why this campaign has been launched. Its aim is to create a community of equality for all.

They are tracking the use of “retard” and put it on their websitewww.TheSocialChallenge.org and encourage people to take action to those Tweets contained “r-words”. You can choose one of the varied contents to response to those Twitter account. For example, “Sticks and stones, blah blah blah. Words hurt”; “tweeting the r-word: not illegal, also not cool.”

This campaign has also done a good job in connecting with other social media. It’s website has an active forum for people to share their stories and connect with Facebook. It also has several videos on YouTube.

What do you think of this campaign? Here is the video.


20 Things You Don t Know About China

May 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

1. There are 12 Zodiac animals in China. Each represents one year in a 12-year cycle
According to readings, Buddha named the years after the twelve animals that came to visit him before he left the earth. They are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, in order. The Chinese believe that you have some of the characteristics of the animal representing the year in which you were born.

2. Tencent is the name of the number one internet company in China.
No other Internet company in the world — not even Google — has achieved the kind of dominance in its home market that Tencent commands in China, where its all-in-one packaging of entertainment offerings and a mobile instant-messaging service, “QQ”, has reached more than 300 million users, or nearly 80 percent of the market.

3. China has the most rapidly growing thirst for “foreign” oil.
With 1.3 billion people, the People’s Republic of China is the world’s most populous country and the second largest oil consumer. A report by the International Energy Agency predicted that by 2030, Chinese oil imports will equal imports by the U.S. today. Its oil consumption grows by 7.5% per year, seven times faster than the U.S.

4. Of the 20,000 new English words unofficially logged in 2006, up to 20 percent were “Chinglish”.
An older example we all recognize: “Long time no see”, a word-for-word Chinese-English translation, is now a Standard English phrase. It also found that Chinglish had contributed 5 to 20 percent of the words added to Global English since 1994, more than any other single source.

5. Paper was first invented in China in 105 AD.
Paper was invented by the eunuch Ts’ai Lun. Many everyday objects and useful technologies were invented by the Chinese long before they were introduced to other countries. Early Chinese inventions include paper, printing, silk, kites, umbrellas, the abacus, porcelain and gunpowder.

6. Chinese Emperor Shi Huang-Ti came to power in China as a 13-year-old boy in 222 B.C.
Shi Huang-Ti was the first emperor of a united China and founder of the Qin dynasty. Were he a European ruler, he would likely be considered great. The Chinese, however, have given him a negative reputation because of his ruthlessness, massive conscription of labor, wars, harsh laws, and burning of books in 213 B.C.

7. Today’s Chinese flag was adopted in 1949 after the revolution in which the Communist party gained power.
The red background of the Chinese flag symbolizes the blood shed throughout the revolution and it’s also the traditional color of the Chinese people. The large gold star stands for leadership and the four smaller stars represent different classes of the society peasants, workers, bourgeoisie, and capitalists, all united under the Communist Party.

8. Chinese New Year is the oldest and most important festival in China and in the Chinese community around the world.
Chinese New Year is also called Lunar New Year, as the Chinese work on a lunar calendar rather than solar calendar. It typically occurs between January 21 and February 21. It is also referred to as the Spring Festival since it is the beginning of the spring.

9. 55 ethnic minority groups, together with the Han majority, make up the greater Chinese nationality known as Zhonghua Minzu.
The People’s Republic of China officially recognizes 55 ethnic minority groups within China in addition to the Han majority. The multi-ethnic nature of China is a result of many centuries of assimilation, expansion and modern consolidation of territories incorporated during the Qing Dynasty, whose emperors were Manchu and not members of the Han majority. Most ethnic groups are distinctive from one another, but there are some that are very similar to the Han majority group.

10. Ice cream was invented in China around 2000BC when the Chinese packed a soft milk and rice mixture in the snow.
Lots of cool things were invented in China. Umbrellas, glasses and fireworks were all invented in China, but the tastiest and coldest Chinese invention is snow ice cream. The Emperors of China were the first people, we know about who were lucky enough to get to eat snow ice cream. Their cooks mixed snow and ice from the mountains with fruit, wine and honey to make a tasty treat for their rulers to enjoy when they wanted to relax.

11. Despite of its size, all of China is in one time zone.
Although the country spans a slightly greater longitude than the continental U.S., China has one time zone which is eight hours ahead of the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+8). China has tried Daylight Saving Time, but has discontinued the practice.

12. The name of China’s capital has changed over the centuries.
At one time or another it has been known as Yanjing, Dadu, and Beiping. Peking or Beijing means “Northern Capital”. Beijing is the officially sanctioned pinyin spelling based on the Mandarin dialect. Beijing is the second largest city after Shanghai.

13. Chinese first discovered the blood circulation.
By the second century B.C., the Chinese discovered that blood circulated throughout the body and that the heart pumped the blood. In Europe, circulation wasn’t discovered until the early seventeenth century by William Harvey (1578-1657).

14. Dragon is the most important legendary creature in Chinese mythology.
While the dragon is typically seen as an evil creature in Western culture, it holds first place among the four greatest creatures in Chinese mythology, including the phoenix, tiger, and tortoise. It is typically associated with the emperor. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. Moreover, Chinese people always use the term “Descendants of the Dragon” as a sign of ethnic identity.

15. Shanghai’s magnetic levitation train, the world’s first commercial high-speed link, will be extended to 199.5 kilometers.
The new link, also called “Maglev”, will be extended to Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang Province. It will be 199.5 kilometers long and the top speed will be 450 kilometers per hour. Moreover, China has plans to bid fro contracts to build US high-speed train lines and is stepping up exports of rail technology to Europe and Latin America.

16. Suspension bridges were invented in China in 25 B.C, 1,800 years before such bridges were known in the West.
At the present, the longest suspension bridge in China is the Xihoumen Bridge, which was built in Zhoushan Archipelago in 2009. It is the second longest suspension bridge in the world, according to the length of its span which is 2.7 kilometers. Most of the large suspension bridges built in recent year are in China. And most of the bridges under construction are in China.

17. China’s Grand Canal is the world’s oldest and longest canal at 1,776 kilometers long with 24 locks and around 60 bridges.
It is also called Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, which started from Beijing and passed through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shangdong and Zhejiang to the city of Hangzhou. The Grand Canal furthered an indigenous and growing economic market in China’s urban centers through all the ages since the Sui period(581–618 AD).

18. The Chinese word for civilization (wén) is pronounced the same as the word for script, pattern, or calligraphy.
In fact, calligraphy was thought to reveal the calligrapher’s moral and spiritual self-cultivation as a type of “heart print”.

19. The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were the most expensive games in history.
Comparing with the 2004 Athens Games which cost around $15 billion, the Beijing Games were estimated to cost around $43 billion. The cost of building venues amounts to around $1.8 billion.

20. In China, red is considered a lucky color while white is the color of mourning.
Red symbolizes happiness for the Chinese and is commonly used at Chinese festivals and other happy occasions such as birthdays and weddings. And white, rather than black, is the Chinese color for mourning and funerals. Therefore, don’t use white color paper when you wrap gifts for your Chinese friend. Use plain red wrapping paper.

Should Internet be Censored?

May 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

If you type “internet censorship” in Google search engine, it will come up about 2,860,000 results. Once you add “China” into search words, it will display about 519,000 results. So basically, one sixth of the results regarding internet censorship are related to China.

I remember when we were talking about the block of Facebook and Twitter in China, most of the American students said they couldn’t believe it. In America, the internet is considered as a positive force to spread and build up democracy, while Chinese government may think of it as a threat to the society, or more specifically, the stability in a society. As a country still developing, China is unstable in many places. So the more stability created, the more prosperous it will become in the future. That’s why that pornographic, violence-related, gambling and other harmful information is censored in China. And at this point, the internet censorship seems to have a positive aspect.

However, I think the whole censorship things on internet do more harm than good. To the west, especially American, freedom is like food and water, which is essential in life. But in China, most of the people care less about it. And I think it is because we are so used to do what the leaders tell us to do from the feudalism long time ago to communism nowadays. And I think this is the most serious problem—people didn’t realize that their freedom has been taken. I know there are some people using some certain software to break the firewall and get the access to those blocked website. But they are only a small part of the netizens, and the netizens (457 million) are only about one third of the whole population. What about the rest of the people? Are they concerned about the censorship? Do they care about the freedom? Unfortunately, I don’t think so.

Sounds like I’m totally pessimistic about this issue. Maybe let’s just look at some bright facts. I can say things get better than yesterday. The internet censorship is less serious than it was several years ago. At least, people can have access to those websites if they really want by using some software. People can say something bad about the government, the society, and the people on internet, but be careful if your words are so fierce and might take it in action, they will disappear silently. Moreover, there are more and more western people do their business in Chinese market, and I think the government must know that the internet is important for the international market. Thus, it will help to make the internet censorship more opened-up and less serious. But still, there is a long way to go before Chinese people get rid of the internet censorship.

NYC vs Paris

May 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

This blog (http://parisvsnyc.blogspot.com) is owned by a graphic designer Vahram Muratyan, who claims himself a lover of Paris wandering through New York. He created about 50 posters which present a series of visual comparisons between Paris and New York. The details that make up their urban identity are explored through subjects as diverse as food (baguette vs bagel), pests (pigeons vs rats), director (Godard vs Woody) etc.

One of my favorites is this poster Amelie vs Carrie. These two girls, one is from that famous French movie Amelie, and the other is the leading role in Sex and the city. I guess both of them can in some extent represent the girls where they live. I can imagine Amelie sitting and sipping the expresso and Carrie holding a big coffee while walking and shopping.

Sometimes, I found it so much fun when I tried to do something that some stereotypes do. I remember when I went to New York last year, I asked my friend to take me to Magnolia Bakery to try those colorful cupcakes. Actually, it’s not the first time I had cupcakes and I didn’t expect their cupcakes more special in flavor than other cupcakes. The only reason I want to try it is because Carrie always eats them in that TV show. And I want to be Carrie, a strong, independent New York woman, even just for a while.

We have talked a lot on class about the negative aspects of stereotyping, especially those have been distorted. But I think sometimes it offers an easy way to understand a different culture. Like here, we might easily understand the different culture between Paris and New York from these funny posters. However, one thing should be mentioned. We should look and inform ourselves about what is true and what is not true through those stereotypes because sometimes we can be totally wrong.

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