A Chinese Social Media Star Comes to Fashion Week
With a name like Leaf Greener (a literal translation of her Chinese name, Ye Zi) and clothing that ranges from a yolk-yellow Rosie Assoulin pantsuit at noon to a lacy Givenchy evening gown after dark, surely you can make an impression during New York Fashion Week.
And that’s exactly what the Beijing-raised, Shanghai-based Ms. Greener had in mind.
Ms. Greener left Elle China last October after more than six years as senior fashion editor to strike out on her own as a stylist and fashion consultant. She kicked off New York Fashion Week last Wednesday by hobnobbing with some of fashion’s and beauty’s elite at an intimate cocktail party at the Fifth Avenue penthouse of Leonard Lauder. (She is currently featured in an Estée Lauder campaign in the Asia-Pacific region.)
By Friday, she had partied until 6 a.m. the night before, she confessed, but was doggedly doing the rounds of the young designers’ shows. “That’s what I care about most when I’m in New York, the new designers,” she said, looking inexplicably collected in her yellow suit despite the sweltering heat at Ms. Assoulin’s outdoor presentation. “They don’t call it Old York,” Ms. Greener added, laughing hard.
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She whipped out her iPhone, housed in a case bought in Hong Kong that looked like a slice of cake, to take a video of the presentation for her Instagram account. She has nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram, even though it is banned in China, she pointed out, plus an even more devoted following on Chinese channels like WeChat and Weibo. “Everyone is on there or is moving to there,” Ms. Greener said, referring to WeChat. She publishes a mobile-only magazine on the platform.
Her fashion influence in China is such that brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Lanvin have come calling (Ms. Greener consults or styles for them) and emerging brands vie for her attention. Ms. Assoulin, for one, greeted Ms. Greener enthusiastically, yelling out, “Leafie!”
She’s also featured in the Business of Fashion’s listing for people shaping the fashion industry.
“Fashion in China is changing,” Ms. Greener said between social media photos. “Before, it was all about logos and labels. It’s very similar to Russia in that way. You know, the communist country thing. But now people are interested in local young designers, and that’s an amazing thing. There are more contemporary fashion labels available now for the middle class.”
Compared to New Yorkers, she said, Chinese women are more willing to take fashion risks and perhaps to go for a full head-to-toe look, but they’re not as different as some in fashion may think.
“In Beijing, women will wear a lot of color and there’s more bling — it’s like L.A.,” Ms. Greener said. “In Shanghai, they like black or less obvious colors. They care about trends, and it’s more sophisticated like New York. Actually Beijing and Shanghai hate each other, so it really is like L.A. and New York. It’s good that I have a bit of both.”
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