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Rivalry between Mou's girls never more in fashion
By Gan Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-03-31 09:39

Rivalry between Mou's girls never more in fashion

Zhang Ziyi is Emporio Armani's first Chinese woman brand ambassador. [File photos]

How much more competition are we going to see between China's two most famous actresses, Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi? First it was the movies, now the field of fashion.

Gong attended Louis Vuitton ready-to-wear Fall/Winter 09/10 show during Paris Fashion Week, wearing a light blouse and a pair of wide leg jeans ensemble from the label's Spring/Summer 2009 collection, while Zhang was announced as the first Chinese woman chosen by Emporio Armani, presenting its ready-to-wear collections, accessories and eyewear.

Gong certainly knows which part of her body to highlight. Her wide-legged denim pants and tight obi belt accentuated her perfect shape. She certainly has a sense of "street style". The lacquered wood bangles and the Sprouse leopard print clutch bag added even more color to the whole dress.

Fashion Week Daily named Gong the "best dressed". Gong was sitting by Yves Carcelle in the front row, showing her prestige in fashion circles.

Zhang, meanwhile, has been paired with Taiwanese-Japanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro, the first Asian male face in Emporio Armani's advertising campaign. They now feature prominently in the brand's promotion in China for Spring/Summer 2009.

Giorgio Armani says Zhang is a perfect match for his brand, "possessing a very distinctive beauty, traditional and uniquely oriental, but at the same time there is an appeal that is very young and very modern". 

Rivalry between Mou's girls never more in fashion

Gong Li at Louis Vuitton's ready-to-wear Fall/Winter 09/10 show during Paris Fashion Week.

Zhang is clothed in more colorful dresses, giving her a younger image. Her delicate over-sized wallet in hand marks a new generation's statement about being rich and powerful. Most of her expressions are plain, however, even a little angry, showing her power and determination to be a fashion leader.

Before Zhang worked on these campaigns, she said: "Armani has for some time been my choice of wardrobe for events. I am captivated by the unmistakable style and sophistication of his clothes."

The actress is in Armani's debt. She has worked with Armani many times, including wearing his dresses at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards.

Zhang and Gong have often been linked in the public's eyes and are together known as "Mou's girls", in reference to director Zhang Yimou. Zhang owed her early success to him through films like The Road Home and Hero, while Gong rose to fame more than a decade ago in Red Sorghum and Raise the Red Lantern.

At the time of Zhang Ziyi's breakthrough movie, Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000, the Time Asia website said: "Gong Li was always all woman: insolent, stern and sturdy, a threat to the men who wanted her. Zhang Ziyi is a promise of girlhood ripening, inside, to womanhood. If Gong was an image of China's power and defiance, Zhang is a China ready to conquer the world with charm."

In the fashion world, honors may be said to be even. In any event, their similar flat faces, dark eyes and hair, white skin and inner power all express a typical Chinese beauty, a beauty some of the world is only now beginning to fully appreciate.