The World According To Bao Bao Wan

21st October, 2013

Of all the gilded castles, the luminescent scenes we encountered in China, my favorite stop of all was the Beijing headquarters of designer Bao Bao Wan. Considered China’s first socialite and one of the most internationally known figures on the country’s social scene, she is the the daughter of Wan Li, former chairman of the National People’s Congress and one of the most recognizable figureheads of Communist leadership. BaoBao2 BaoBao3Bao Bao spent the early years of her life living within the confines of Beijing’s presidential compound, and indeed, the mansion that is home to her showroom today could easily be mistaken for the royal palaces of yore. While a nostalgia for her youth can certainly be seen in her jewelry designs, she eschews many of China’s deep-seated traditional mores, especially as they pertain to women’s roles in society. It’s still a place where, more often than not, girls are groomed for marriage over careers. Bao Bao sees fashion as one way of rebelling against that old-world rigidity. As a descendant of one of the country’s most influential families, everything she does is keenly dissected by local gossip columns, and she gives them plenty of fodder, living like a liberated woman in clothes that demand to be noticed. BaoBao4Her jewelry too insists upon attention. Like the pieces I so loved at Dickson Yewn’s store, Bao Bao Wan’s work plays on traditional Chinese tropes, but does so with a thoroughly modern mindset. By way of explaining this duality, she states: “Every piece of my jewelry represents myself and a generation of Chinese women who are fragile yet very bold and crazy.” It’s an interesting moment in this country’s history, and Bao Bao is using jewelry to express those tensions artistically. BaoBao5|ABOVE + BELOW| La Brise de La Danse bangle, crafted from 18k gold and an endless array of colored diamonds BaoBao6Bao Bao left China at 15 years old, to study first in the United States and later in Paris. She was the first Chinese woman to debut at the esteemed Crillon Ball. Now based primarily out of Hong Kong, her international education is reflected in her fearless approach to life and work, and in the French names given to each of her jewelry collections, even those most influenced by her youth in China. BaoBao7|ABOVE + BELOW| La Maison de Mon Enfance necklace, inspired by the architecture of the designer’s childhood homes BaoBao8 BaoBao9 BaoBao10|ABOVE + BELOW| Koi fish swim in Bao Bao Wan’s Beijing gardens, while diamond-headed seahorses dance around her red jade earringsBaoBao11 BaoBao12 BaoBao13China is leading the race into the future in so many ways, but it still seems to struggle with how best to address its past. I would love to see real idealogical progress made, but hope that the elegance of its aesthetic traditions will not be lost in the fury for modernity. It seemed to me that Bao Bao Wan’s work well reflects this ethos, from an extremely insider’s perspective. I love that she is making fine jewelry that is unstuffy and exciting, using traditionally esteemed materials like gold and jade in ways that feel simultaneously fresh and distinctively Chinese. BaoBao14 BaoBao15 BaoBao16 BaoBao17Diving into the distinctive visual world of this designer was a sensory experience that will forever live at the forefront of my memories of adventuring in China! BaoBao18 BaoBao19|WEARING THROUGHOUT| Primary dress, Joie shoes, Bao Bao Wan Fine Jewelry BaoBao20|PHOTOGRAPHY| by Zachary Lynd |IN COLLABORATION| with LoveGold

|CLICK HERE| for many more gilded delights!

  • Beautiful jewelry and photos!

    http://www.FashionSnag.com

  • Jovana Miljanovic

    Lovely post!

    HAVE A GREAT DAY!

    Love,

    Jovana

    http://jovanamiljanovic.com

  • brunetteletters

    You’re so lucky that you get to travel everywhere!!! you have beautiful pictures!!! beautiful earrings too!
    http://brunettelettersblog.blogspot.com/

  • Rougeuse

    You write so beautifully. China is one of my dream destinations and you describe it so magical. x

    rougeuse.blogspot.com

  • Denisa

    Beautiful outfit. Interesting pics. Great day.

    http://www.fashiondenis.com/

  • Laiza

    Beautiful pictures and your look amazing as always!!
    xx
    L.
    http://www.lalouuula.com

  • Androbel

    Your eyes are beautiful and yes I hope modernity doesn’t change their history in design. I love to see the culture.

    Xo,

    Belen

    http://www.androbelinsider.blogspot.com 🙂

  • Czech BlondĂœn
  • Beautiful Photos and Jewels! Love it all Especailly the jade necklace but you’re right whenever I see this combination I always think of CHinese History and Culture.

  • mulberry&melrose

    so gorgeous! i love the background behind the jewelry, the pics are beautiful, and i love your eye makeup!

  • Amazing pictures. What a dream! The patterns and architecture are beautiful!

  • These jewels are beyond amazing!

    Mafalda ❀
    http://www.mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr

  • Love the bangle! Very pretty photos!
    <3

    http://downtownhautefashion.blogspot.com

  • beautifully written post! I love how you capture China’s tension with their past and their pursuit of modernity

    http://heyprettything.com

  • Phuong

    As usual so beautiful. Thank you for bringing us this 🙂

    huskyandblue.blogspot.com.au

  • Marina

    I absolutely love your breathtaking pictures and your eloquent verbiage.

    http://letstalkaboutitpeeps.wordpress.com/

  • DNA (designers+artists)
  • Mady T.

    love the jewelery selection! the visual details of your China adventure are just amazing!

    xoxo
    Mady

    thegirlfromthemirror.blogspot.com

  • Mackenzie Mancuso

    You have some really amazing photos here – My favorite is of the fish!

    xoxo, Kenzie
    easy-lucky-fr3e.blogspot.com

  • decolifemag

    Great photos!!!!i love all that colours together in a pic…
    I have to tell you that i felt in love with the earings with the orange stones in the middle!!!

    DECOlife
    xxXx

  • jelena
  • So much beauty in this post… the jewelries are just so amazing!

    Lydia
    doubleescapades.blogspot.com
    Malaysia

  • Marina

    Kelly, you’ve inspired and motivated me to begin my own online blog! It’s, of course, nothing compare to yours but I have to begin somewhere, right? http://letstalkaboutitpeeps.wordpress.com/

  • Such beautiful pieces! I love the bright colors!

  • Caitlin Inwood

    I loved all the earrings! Especially the purple tassle ones, very pretty. They reminded me of a pair Natalie Portman wore to an awards show along with a dior dress when she was pregnant.

    Follow me on cailtininwood.blogspot.com!

  • WTFab

    You have the most perfect beach-wavy hair I’ve ever seen. Also, those earrings are to die for!

    Xo,

    Elise

    http://www.w-t-fab.com

  • shesaidsomething

    China’s first socialite? That is a stretch considering that the “People’s” Republic of China would fundamentally eschew such a thing (at least the propaganda by the government). Although, let’s be real…this woman has gained major benefits from her links to a government that perpetuates its own wealth while adhering to a method of oppression for its people. And the irony continues in that she risks exposing the deep hypocrisy of the Chinese government by flaunting Western notions within a system that created her wealth. Forgive me for the political nature of my post but I find the glaring ignorance of context difficult to ignore and I am a fashion fan (not a troll).

    • two cents

      Agreed. Beautiful photos but incredibly ignorant writing.

  • Sandra N

    Your photos are amazing. And your style is so inspiring…

  • You look great!
    Fantastic photos and exquisite jewelry.

  • bimini444

    so lovely

  • Pingback: The World According To Bao Bao Wan | DmartienJ Space()

  • Caterina

    GorgeouS!!! Love the boho jewels… RueLaLa is having a jewelry sale and they have a lot of emerald and turquoise for less:
    http://bit.ly/19Hkmz1
    http://bit.ly/18Z6pQ0

  • Emma

    Amazing pictures! xx http://tinyurl.com/m97kmaa

  • Jessica Oliver

    Love this post! Everything is flawless.

    xx
    Jess
    livinglifelimitlessly.com

  • Cristina Monti

    Beautiful jewels, she’s so talented!
    Check out:
    http://thebohoflow.blogspot.ca/2013/10/appropriate-hues.html#more
    With Love,
    C

  • sami dahmooni

    Surely it’s very nice and interest ancient cultures.

TheGlamourai is a webzine produced by Kelly Framel, a multi-media creative director based in downtown New York (but constantly bouncing around the world). Part fashion blog, part glossy mag, part fantasy travel portal, it's your ultimate online destination for stylish daydreams. Tune in for inspirational editorials, beauty tutorials, outfit ideas, DIYs, jet-set travel tips and more!
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