Models of the moment

Du Juan on the runway for Louis Vuitton.

The international fashion runways are seeing more Chinese beauties strutting their stuff. Our columnist compiles the handful that is making their presence felt.

AS the Lunar New Year is just two days away, I thought it’d be timely to look at how China-born models have taken the fashion world by storm.

The past year has been good for these clotheshorses, and no doubt the Year of the Horse will prove to be even better. Their careers are notable because it highlights how much the fashion industry is responding to the spending power of China’s luxury consumers. Now, let’s meet these exotic beauties.

Liu Wen

Out of all the models on this list, Liu - recently listed by Forbes as the fifth highest paid model in the world, and the first Asian to make the annual list - is considered the most successful.

Liu, 25, started her modelling career in 2005 when she entered a modelling contest. Although the 1.79m-tall lass did not win the competition, she got noticed and soon began working full-time as a model, appearing in fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

After she moved to New York to further her career, she taught herself English by watching Gossip Girl and comparing Harry Potter books in Chinese and English.

In September 2007, Liu caught the attention of the international fashion industry when she shot an editorial in outfits designed by Karl Lagerfeld and Viktor and Rolf, and later walked for both of those brands. The following year, she walked for Burberry and closed Trussardi’s Fall collection in Milan. She also walked for Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel and Hermès in Paris.

In early 2009, Liu led the modeling industry by walking 74 shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris for the Fall 2009 ready-to-wear season. It remains the record for the most shows ever walked by a model of Asian descent in a single season.

She has appeared in campaigns for various designers including Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, Roberto Cavalli, Oscar de la Renta, Hugo Boss, Alexander Wang and Vivienne Tam. In 2009, she became the first woman of Chinese descent to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Liu expressed her surprise to be chosen because Victoria’s Secret models “have big boobs.” Nevertheless, she has walked the show for four consecutive years.

In April 2010, Liu became the first Asian face of cosmetics company Estée Lauder, and was dubbed by theNew York Times in 2012 as “China’s first bona fide supermodel.”

Sui He

At the age of 17, Sui entered and won a modelling contest in 2006.

Face of fortune: In 2012, Sui He was selected to be the first Asian global spokesmodel for Shiseido.

The 1.79m-tall Sui’s breakthrough season was Fall/Winter 2011, where she most notably opened for Ralph Lauren and Vivienne Tam in New York, walked for Dolce & Gabbana in Milan and Shiatzy Chen and Dries van Noten in Paris.

Since 2011, Sui has modelled in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows, becoming the second model of Chinese descent after Liu Wen to walk for the famous lingerie brand.

In 2012, Sui was selected to be the first Asian global spokesmodel for Shiseido. She has also appeared in two H&M campaigns.

Ju Xiaowen

Now 21, she began her modelling career in China, signing with IMG in 2010. Since then, Ju has walked for 3.1 Phillip Lim, Hermès, Jill Stuart, Jonathan Saunders, DKNY, Moschino Cheap & Chic and Tory Burch. She has done ad campaigns for Adidas, Dior, Kenzo, Lane Crawford and Marc Jacobs (becoming the first Chinese to front the designer’s campaign). She has also appeared on the cover of Vogue China andNumero China.

The 1.77m-tall Ju is known for her smile and for erm, sticking her tongue out. (Maybe she’s the Asian version of Miley Cyrus?)

Du Juan on the runway for Louis Vuitton.

Du Juan

The only child of architect parents, Du had originally pursued a career in classical ballet, training at the prestigious Shanghai Academy of Dance for nine years.

A former Ford Supermodel of the World runner-up, Du is presently 31 and her height is 1.79m. She made her runway debut in Spring 2006, walking for prominent designers such as Valentino (opening and closing his bridal show), Jean-Paul Gaultier, Roberto Cavalli and Chanel.

In 2010, she appeared in Heavenly King Jacky Cheung’s Double Trouble music video as his love interest.

Sun Fei Fei modelled for Chanel

Sun Fei Fei

Sun was born on March 20, 1989 in Weifang, a seaside city in northern China. She was scouted and briefly trained to model as a teenager, but did not start professionally until she graduated from high school. In 2009, she represented China in Elite Model Look, one of the world’s most influential modelling contests.

The 1.79m-tall beauty’s first major campaign was Dsquared2 in 2011. Since then, she has been the face of Louis Vuitton, Lane Crawford, Calvin Klein’s cK one and Diesel; in spring 2012, she became the first Asian face of Italian brand Valentino.

William, who will wear as much red as possible to usher in a prosperous new year, wishes everyone Gong Xi Fa Cai. Send your feedback to

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Models of the moment


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