Chinese actor and model Hu Bing has enjoyed many prominent roles and honours, from serving as brand spokesman for Louis Vuitton to being a regular front-row guest at fashion weeks. In March 2015 he was appointed the first international ambassador for the British Fashion Council’s London Collections Men, or LCM. Having lived and worked in the US for five years, he has now moved to London.
What was your first reaction on being appointed LCM ambassador?
‘Why me? I was asked about this during the Louis Vuitton Paris show last year and didn’t take it very seriously until I made my way to London and found that the British Fashion Council had been so nice to me.’
Which Chinese designers do you particularly like?
‘China’s best knitwear designer is Uma Wang, who has been praised by the editor of Italian Vogue, Franca Sozzani. I like her because of her vast knowledge of fabric, design, tailoring and marketing, which all make manufacturing possible. After all, not everyone can afford haute couture.’
Which brands do you like to walk for?
‘I’ve walked two outfits for Oliver Spencer. Although it takes time to do catwalks, I like to invest time and energy in this. I’ve loved walking every show I’ve been in because I can help to bring the designer’s ideas into reality.’
Who is your favourite British model?
‘Naomi Campbell. You may think she is funny for taking so many selfies, but I see that as perfectionism and professionalism.’
Which is your favourite London district?
‘I’ve been to the West End to see The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon and Mamma Mia. I prefer the West End to Broadway in New York as the shows are in English accents.’
Which hotels and restaurants do you recommend in London?
‘I love eating fish and chips and steak at Harrods department store. It is hard to book a table! I remember visiting London 10 years ago ‒ the Mandarin Oriental hotel had the best service and dim sum then. This time LCM has booked me a suite in Belgravia. It’s a bit crowded with my five big suitcases which contain the 25 outfits and 40 pairs of shoes I’ve brought for this trip.’
Do you still have any souvenirs from your previous London trip?
‘Besides getting Harrods teddy bears, I went to Portobello Market and bought a sailor’s compass and some binoculars as well as pick-up sticks, Jenga and a brooch with a ruby in it, or so they told me. The colour has now faded but the stone is still there.’
As an actor and supermodel, what is your next goal?
‘Having been in showbusiness for 25 years, I’d love to give advice to newcomers. It’s also why I took on this position of fashion ambassador. I look forward to the day I retire and become an old yet stylish man in fashion.’
Hu Bing’s three tips on succeeding in the fashion industry:
Always present the best of yourself
Five years ago when Hu Bing was at the Rome International Film Festival to receive the leading actor award for his role in Bei Mian (The Back), he arrived at a party dressed straight off the runway from the Gucci autumn/winter 2010 collection. The bold look was applauded by the likes of the Who What Wear website.
Hu Bing is renowned for taking full charge of his own styling. He is a big fan of American Vogue editor Anna Wintour and particularly admires her extremely high standards. He points out that if it wasn’t for her perfectionism The Devil Wears Prada would not have been made. While he is known for his work ethic he also has a motto of ‘work hard, play harder’ and believes that the real world is more important than what appears on screens.
The secret of charm is honesty
When asked about his views on youth, Hu Bing says ‘I don’t think it’s good to be young; I would not want to go back if I could.’ He enjoys being mature and likes having had time to develop impeccable taste and a knowledgeable outlook on the world. After 25 years as a star of the screen and the runway, he is well aware of the importance of being himself. ‘The secret of a man’s charm is honesty,’ he says. ‘If he dares not show his true self, then he has no chance of happiness.’
Learn about brands, not about price labels
A Japanese TV programme caused controversy, particularly on the internet, when Hu Bing was interviewed at one of his houses in Beijing, apparently worth millions of yuan. Yet in reality Hu Bing is down to earth. He doesn’t like to splurge on expensive clothes and prefers to wear comfortable items that suit both him and the occasion. ‘Good quality travels through time,’ he says. ‘Brands such as Burberry are popular for a reason. It’s better to learn about brands than about price labels.’