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Burberry Taps Tang Wei, Stars Turn Out for Gotham Awards

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DECISION TO JOIN: Tang Wei, the internationally acclaimed Chinese actress with major works like “Late Autumn” and “Decision to Leave” under her belt, has been named a Burberry global brand ambassador.

The British luxury brand on Wednesday confirmed her appointment and released visuals of Tang sporting a trenchcoat with a faux-fur collar from the brand’s winter 2023 collection by a lush pond, shot by Ryan McGinley. She completed her look with a pair of round-toe boots and a small Knight bag in blue grainy calf leather and shearling.

“Having known Burberry for many years, it feels as though we’ve become old friends, with its influence woven deeply into my life,” Tang said of her new role.

Tang Wei attends a Burberry pop-up in Shanghai.

Last month, she attended the brand’s pop-up in Shanghai and had intimate exchanges with Burberry chief creative officer Daniel Lee. Her appearance, alongside brand ambassador Chen Kun, had already helped the brand generate considerable buzz on Chinese social media.

“I’m truly grateful for this enduring companionship. I adore Burberry’s distinct mastery of color and lines, which exudes a sense of both familiarity and novelty. It’s a British charm that I’ve come to know and love, coupled with a timeless yet rebellious modern spirit. Fate brought us together. This friendship is like a rose, and I would love to see it blossom,” Tang added.

Considered one of the most celebrated Asian actresses of her generation, Tang has scored dozens of major awards since her silver-screen debut in Ang Lee’s erotic period espionage film “Lust, Caution.” The movie scored the Golden Lion top honor at the Venice Film Festival in 2007.

The South Korean movie “Decision to Leave,” which won the best director award at the 75th Cannes Film Festival last year, pushed her career to a new high.

Her portrayal of Song Seo-rae, a Chinese immigrant suspected of murdering her husband, who later developed feelings for the lead character, detective Jang Hae-jun, played by Park Hae-il, who was investigating the case, helped her bag a dozen major recognitions across Asia and beyond.

Tang’s appointment is expected to help the brand raise awareness and desirability around Lee’s new direction in China, where the brand faces similar challenges as its peers due to a macro slowdown in demand due to rising interest rates, cost of living pressures and consumers’ more conservative mindset.

In mainland China, comparable store sales rose 15 percent in the first half, with all the growth coming from the first three months. In the second-quarter sales in the region fell 8 percent as spending shifted offshore, according to Burberry.

As a whole, the Chinese shopper cluster grew by 25 percent in the three months to Sept. 30 driven by wealthy, traveling Chinese shoppers who have been splashing their cash in Japan (where the exchange rate is favorable) and in resorts such as Hong Kong and Macao.

Burberry chief financial officer Kate Ferry said during an earnings call that the slowdown in mainland China has “extended” into the current quarter, although demand remains robust among Chinese tourists shopping abroad.

Prior to joining the family of Burberry, alongside Chinese actor Chen, Thai star Bright, soccer player Son Heung-Min and South Korean actress Jun Ji-Hyun, Tang was the face of Loewe in China and worked with Chanel occasionally on video content and red-carpet appearances. — TIANWEI ZHANG

THE STARS CAME OUT: Awards season got off to a very starry start on Monday evening at the 2023 Gotham Awards, held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. 

Talent from this year’s most notable film and television works were in attendance, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, Penélope Cruz, Laura Dern, Greta Lee, Carey Mulligan, Charles Melton, Michelle Williams, Bella Ramsey, A.V. Rockwell, Andrew Scott, Steven Yeun, Cailee Spaeny, Greta Gerwig, Willem Dafoe, Colman Domingo, Bob Odenkirk, Ali Wong, Danielle Brooks, Rebecca Hall and Nicole Beharie. 

Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, Michelle Williams, and Natalie Portman at the 2023 Gotham Awards in New York on Nov. 27.

Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, Michelle Williams and Natalie Portman at the 2023 Gotham Awards in New York on Nov. 27.

The night’s best feature was awarded to Celine Song and her debut film “Past Lives,” which stars Greta Lee. Charles Melton took home the best supporting performance award, while Lily Gladstone was recognized with the leading actor award and Ali Wong for television. 

“This is actually the first film I’ve ever made,” Song told the room upon accepting the night’s final award, “and a very personal film about an extraordinary feeling I had in an ordinary bar in the East Village, not too many blocks away from here.”

Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan at the 33rd Annual Gotham Awards held at Cipriani Wall Street on November 27, 2023 in New York City.

Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan at the 33rd Annual Gotham Awards held at Cipriani Wall Street on Nov. 27, 2023 in New York City.

Bryan Bedder for Variety

Several of the year’s big blockbuster films were recognized as well, including “Barbie,” “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Maestro.” 

“We had the absolute best time from beginning to end making this film, [where] every day felt like the most euphoric collective expression of creativity I’ve ever been part of,” Gerwig said alongside producer and star Robbie while onstage for “Barbie.”

“Having audiences around the world wear pink and show up to the movie theater has literally been a dream come true,” Robbie said.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone at the 33rd Annual Gotham Awards held at Cipriani Wall Street on November 27, 2023 in New York City.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone at the 33rd Annual Gotham Awards held at Cipriani Wall Street on Nov. 27, 2023 in New York City.

Nina Westervelt for WWD

Gladstone, onstage with the “Killers of the Flower Moon” cast, challenged the filmmakers of the room with a sizable budget to “invest it in the people that you are telling the story about. Your film will be better for it, your lives will be better for it.”

The night’s big story was De Niro’s introduction to the “Killers of the Flower Moon” cast, in which he stopped himself mid-speech to declare his original speech had been edited down to exclude comments on Donald Trump, censorship and treatment of Native Americans.

“History isn’t history anymore. Truth is not truth. Even facts are being replaced by alternative facts and driven by conspiracy theories and ugliness,” De Niro read from his phone, breaking from the teleprompter.​​ “The entertainment industry isn’t immune to this festering disease. The Duke, John Wayne, famously said of Native Americans, ‘I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them.’”

The room was on De Niro’s side, cheering as he went off script. The most touching moment of the night was easily Melton’s win for supporting actor (it’s worth nothing that in the past two years, the recipient of the Gotham for this award has gone on to win the Oscar: Troy Kotsur and Ke Huy Quan). 

“This is heavy, this is awesome. I just think about the 23 days in Savannah, Georgia that we spent filming and it’s the greatest experience of my career,” said a flustered Melton from the stage. “And I love you, mom.” — LEIGH NORDSTROM

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