Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gong Li cuts a ribbon.

Gong Li was in Shanghai the other day to open the Louis Vuitton flagship store on Huai Hai Road according to, pointed to, as always, by Dennis Lee's indispensible blog. A few pictures from the event:

Here she is flanked by Yves Carcelle the CEO of LV and an unidentified guy who also gets a pair of scissors. Note to the young models behind them: When you are hired to act as the backdrop for an international movie star and a powerful and wealthy luxury goods executive who are doing something essentially silly but still deemed important enough to spend lots of time and money, don't blow it by looking hostile or grumpy. Accepted looks include: bored, slightly pained or stoned. Unacceptable looks include all of the ones shown in this picture.

The same scene a bit earlier before the scissors have come out. Yves Carcelle, even as CEO, is a merchant to his core. Here he could be pitching a time share in Hawaii to Gong Li. The models in back look, if anything, even more outrageously inappropriate. Save the contemptuous looks for the photographers while on the runway--looking like that at someone who could bury your career with a word is not the road to success.

Finally made it inside where Gong Li's forced smile shows that she might not be enjoying every moment of talking with this grinning idiot, a fat guy who thinks that a two button suit makes him look svelte. She is probably a few minutes away from having the dangerous looking security type in all black break the guy's nose.

Our chubby friend may be important since Carcelle's face is brick red as he tries to figure out just who said what to who and if anyone is about to be embarrassed or offended. The polyglot nature of gatherings like these must be a challenge--with a bit of English spoken as well as Mandarin and French and perhaps a few other languages.

One assumes that Gong Li is accessorized in LV and the black, high necked, sleeveless, keyhole cut outfit is lovely . There is one thing the seems really odd though--instead of a strapless bra (or none at all) for this outfit she seems to wearing some type of undergarment with jeweled straps that are shown clearly here. Not a bad look just an unusual (and possibly uncomfortable) one.


  1. LOL... love your always incisive and humorous commentary, Ed!

    Regarding those background models, you're right -- sour looks will get them nowhere. They should have been flashing their brightest smiles in a bold attempt to steal some attention away from Gong Li.

  2. Glad to you posting again.

    Yeah, I noticed those models, too. If you're going to be paid to be eye candy, try to look sweet! Sheesh. :D

  3. Cut them some slack. They were worried that if they smiled their make-up up would crash to the floor.

  4. What the young ladies haven't learned yet is that for every one of them there are 1,000 (or 5,000 or 10,000) 17-year olds who would stab them with a four inch heel to get a chance to stand around like that.

    They shouldn't look like anything--they are (more or less) living scenery, there to fill some space and serve as a background for photographers.

    Fashion used to be like academic politics which was so vicious because the stakes were so low. Now there are multi-billion Euro companies such as LVMH (Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.A.) or PPR Group that take everything very seriously.

    Still fun to watch, though.

  5. Academic politics is clearly a different animal in the States ...

  6. Academic politics is clearly a different animal in the States
    It seems so--the quote concerning the triviality of the stakes in academia is attributed to a number of people all of them U.S. academics: including Wallace Sayre, Henry Kissinger, (when he was at Harvard) Richard Neustadt and Woodrow Wilson (when he was at Princeton).