China seeks fashion X factor

Recent Chinese flick Tiny Times featured more than 3,000 designer pieces, leading film critics to say the movie was overdressed and relied too heavily on luxury names.

CHINA - In the Western world, a film or TV show can make a brand famous.

Sex And The City, for instance, turned Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik into household names.

But, in China, this isn't the case, even when effort is made to marry film and fashion. Take two recent flicks, Tiny Times and One Night Surprise.

Tiny Times director Guo Jingming had Vogue China's artistic director, Ms Huang Wei, dressing the characters, while One Night Surprise featured looks from former Harper's Bazaar China fashion director, Ms Li Hui.

Ms Huang brought in more than 3,000 pieces for the Tiny Times crew. Dior, Zara and Chinese designers - the movie "had it all", she said. The result of her work? Some film critics moaned that Tiny Times was "overdressed", thanks to its reliance on luxury names like Fendi and Hermes.

Meanwhile, Ms Li created more than 500 looks for actress Fan Bingbing in One Night Surprise. Top Chinese designers, like Qi Gang and Wang Yutao, created pieces for the movie. Yet, some said that there were no surprises when it came to fashion in the film.

In part, the problem is that China's screenwriters understand fashion only in a superficial way. They merely slot fashion items into a movie, whereas writers in the West are more elegant in their approach.

For example, in a memorable scene in Sex And The City, Carrie Bradshaw tells her beau to "swear it on Chanel".

Such sophistication will surely come as China's film industry grows. But, right now, if one could liken TV and film productions to a glamorous woman, then one could say that, in China, she has the right handbag, but doesn't know how to wear it just yet.