Who: Zhang Yuqi
She’s a Household Name In: China (where she’s also know as “Kitty”)
She’s On Our Radar Because: She’s on Stephen Chow’s radar. OK, we’ll give you a break if that name doesn’t ring a bell either. For the non-Chinese among you, Chow is a Hong Kong movie mogul whose female stars are known as “Sing Girls”—think Hitchcock’s “Icy Blondes” or Woody Allen’s muses. “Kitty” Zhang Yuqi skyrocketed to Chinese celebrity status in 2007 when she became Chow’s latest Sing Girl, starring in the film CJ7 (Chow reportedly discovered her in a KFC commercial). Since then, Yuqi has pouted as the face of China’s Guess Jeans campaign and graced the covers of the Chinese versions of SELF, Grazia, Figaro and OK! Magazines, in addition to showing off a feathery Louis Vuitton Spring 2012 confection on the covers of Elle China.
Yuqi made a splash at Cannes this month, hitting the red carpet at the Great Gatsby premiere in the antithesis to Carey Mulligan’s minimalism: the actress turned heads in an undeniably show-stopping olive green Ulyana Sergeenko gown with a plunging off-the-shoulder neckline and cascading skirt. Yuqi was clever to wear the look early on in the festival, as Fan Bingbing, Natalia Vodianova and Dita Von Teese all played second fiddle wearing versions of the dress in the following days.
We quickly learned that Yuqi has a penchant for princessy ball gowns—the actress isn’t afraid of making a dramatic statement in swishing skirts or playing with volume, as evidenced by the fiery Alexander McQueen dress she wore to the Soshite Chichi Ni Naru premiere at Cannes. Her look worked both the exaggerated silhouette that stars are having a lot of fun with and the festival’s braided hair craze. At the amfAR Gala she was pure old Hollywood glamour in a Roberto Cavalli halter mermaid gown and Chopard jewels. The timeless look did well to emphasize her classic beauty.
It’s safe to say that the girl loves a mermaid hem. Both her Blind Detective and Inside Llewyn Davis looks featured a train, one a floral printed Monique Lhuillier gown from the Resort 2013 collection, and the other a feathered and origami pleated Cavalli paired with a gold Sergio Rossi clutch.
On the red carpet the Sing Girl favors conventional gowns with striking details—take, for example, the gorgeous one-shoulder column gown she wore promoting the film White Deer Plain at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival, with its eye-catching blossoms and aubergine color. At the same festival she represented her Chinese heritage in a royal blue silk gown featuring all-over gold embroidery in a traditional pattern.
But Yuqi styles herself just as dynamically when she’s not setting off flashbulbs on the red carpet, as she showed during this past PFW, where she was a face in the front row. The actress welcomed spring outside Chloé in a crisp ensemble of a white skirt in flowered lace and chic beige jacket that evoked Olivia Palermo’s sensibility when combining pieces, while at Valentino her red leather coat-dress was all Salma Hayek va-va-voom. Despite comparisons, “Kitty” Zhang Yuqi's style has caught our eye on its own, and we can’t wait to see what else this fashion lover has in her dress-up box.