Anna Wintour on the Future of Fashion in China

Anna Wintour Costume Institute Met
Anna Wintour Wendi Deng Beijing
Anna Wintour in Beijing. Photo courtesy of Wall Street Journal

Anna Wintour recently sat down with Andrew Bolton, curator of the Met’s Costume Institute to announced China-focused fashion and art exhibit, “China: Through the Looking Glass,” opening at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in May.

The exhibit will feature more than 130 costumes from imperial to 20th-century-chinese-inspired dresses from world’s renown designers such as Tom Ford, Giorgio Armani, and Alexander McQueen.

Wallstreet Journal documented the engaging conversation between Wintour, Bolton, and WSJ regarding China’s future on the global fashion landscape. Here are some excerpts:

WSJ: Do you see a growing appetite in the U.S. or Europe for Chinese design?

Ms. Wintour: I don’t feel that Chinese designers have reached the level of prominence that European or American designers have, but we’ve noticed in fashion schools in the U.S. and in England and we’ve seen how much the makeup of the students in the classes have changed there in the last five to 10 years. And so many of the students are Chinese and obviously, they will represent the future of Chinese fashion.

I’m sure within the next generation, we’ll see the emergence of Chinese designers on a global scale.

WSJ: Are there any Chinese designers you have your eyes on?

Mr. Bolton: I find interesting a woman named Ma Ke. She was very early in engaging recycled materials. She’s a designer who is deeply philosophical and approaches her work from a Buddhist and Confucianist perspective. She was the first Chinese designer to be accepted by the Paris Haute Couture Week to show her work. She had an extraordinary performance called “Wu Yong,” which means useless. It was a deeply poetic collection.

Ms. Wintour: Ma Ke is similar to Rei Kawakubo, who led the way in Japan in having her own sense of fashion.

Ma Ke Chinese Fashion Designer
Ma Ke. Photo courtesy of

WSJ: What is Chinese style today?

Ms. Wintour: I think of young Chinese women today as being incredibly modern and are taking a lot from Western style and tailoring. I see a lot of women in these great-looking sneakers, as though they are almost very influenced by sport.

Read the complete interview here on WSJ.

You can watch Ma Ke collection, Wu Yong, referenced above here: