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Designing a cover for a Chinese Vanity Fair

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Sanlian Life Week managing editor Frank Miao Wei writes on his blog about the Chinese editions of various internationally-famous publications:

The Chinese Vanity Fair

Last year I ran into an editor and I asked him what he was up to. He said, we're doing the Chinese edition of Vanity Fair. Later I found out that what they wanted to do was to make China's Vanity Fair. This kind of introduction lets foreigners understand what you are doing. Once, I went out to eat with two Korean editors, a Vietnamese editor, and two American businessmen. By way of introduction, a Korean editor said, I work at the Chosun Ilbo, like the New York Times in the US. The Vietnamese editor introduced himself: I work for a weekly in Vietnam - we're trying to become Vietnam's Time. I had nothing to say after this, since what I had originally wanted to say was that I worked for a Chinese weekly, and that we were China's Time.

I've heard that a Chinese edition of GQ is going to come out - don't know what that'll be like. I've seen a Chinese version of OK, however, but it's never caused much of a stir. In England, OK bought exclusive rights to Beckham's wedding photos and the rights to photograph Beckham's son - it's willing to fork over huge sums. If Li Yapeng, Faye Wong, and their kid were able to appear together on the cover of OK, then the Chinese version of OK would do rather better.

However, why were photos of Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, and their daughter published in Vanity Fair? The cover of this magazine is even better at spreading things round. In February of this year, Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson appeared completely nude, and sitting between the two beauties was the designer Tom Ford. Once the cover came out, feminists launched criticisms - why did the man stay clothed while the women stripped? If I were the editor of the Chinese edition of Vanity Fair, my design for a cover would have the men strip while the women stayed clothed. I'd like to have Xu Jinglei on the cover, dressed all neat and tidy, while beside her would be Mr. Han Han and Mr. Wang Shuo, both naked, Han Han holding a steering wheel, Wang Shuo an inkstone, protecting their critical parts. I suppose that Mr. Han and Mr. Wang would take issue with this arrangement, and Ms. Xu might disagree as well.

Another feature of Vanity Fair is that it gathers a group of people together in a "group beauty shot." China's own Vanity Fair has photographed an assembly of Phoenix TV hosts; the Chinese edition of Vanity Fair should take a group shot of CCTV hosts - Wang Xiaoya, Zhu Jun, Li Yong, all lined up. If they find twelve of them, then after shooting them as a group they could take individual photos and put together a calendar as a free gift with the magazine.

No wonder I'm not the editor of a fashion magazine.

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There are currently 2 Comments for Designing a cover for a Chinese Vanity Fair.

Comments on Designing a cover for a Chinese Vanity Fair

all I can say is: 囧

(I mean, can you imagine what would happen if they started putting naked Chinese men on the covers of magazines?)

((I suppose its even worse when one remembers that it wouldn't always be hot chinapop stars but would also have the likes of Zhang Yimou etc draped over a velvet brocade couch and... ewww!))

sorry about that.

Now that's just cruel. The original image couldn't be all that bad, right? I mean, Han Han is a teen idol, and according to Ye Jing, the director of that new "Days when we were young" TV show, Wang Shuo "was looked like a girl when he was young, but all the girls liked him," so he's only a scant few decades overripe for this cover. We just won't think about how to top that, is all.

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