On a crisp, windy day in one of Beijing’s diplomatic compounds, I met Benedicte Bro-Cassard. She had just limped home after a strenuous visit to the hospital. The French fashion consultant had to resort to crutches due to a ruptured knee ligament which required a surgery to fix. Aware of her awkward appearance, she apologetically said she should have dressed better.
During a short interview, the fashion blogger shared her thoughts on the difference in the style of Chinese and European girls and how she dedicated herself to spotting belle on Beijing streets. The stylish Chinese women surprised her so much that she decided to chronicle them in her blog Fearless in Beijing where she feels:
- She is proud of making every girl look good in her picture.
- She would kill herself if she is dressed like her husband.
- Girls in China don’t have to be rich to look hot.
Benedicte Bro-Cassard doesn't like to put herself in the photo.
“Excuse me. Hi, I love your style. Can I take a picture of you?” This is how Benedicte reaches out to a strange woman and documents Beijing street style.
With a 30-year experience in the fashion industry, she has an eye for trend and style. Her husband’s job transfer in 2011 brought her to Beijing, a place that keeps her eyes wide open.
China is still a piece of puzzle in the world with ‘sealed walls’ and nobody really knowing what’s happening here, said the blogger who also stayed 15 years in New York before moving to London, working for London Fashion Week, a biannual showcase of women’s wear hosted by the British Fashion Council.
It surprised the fashion consultant to see girls here look really cool, very sexy but not vulgar, and much cooler than people (elsewhere in the world) think. “They play with the fashion codes. They play with the way of dressing which would not be accepted in the West.”
Consequently, she started taking pictures of the cute girls and ran a blog on the capital’s trending style. The main purpose of her blog is to present China from a different perspective. “I don’t think people in New York can imagine that Chinese girls can go crazy like this,” she leafed through her photo album and pointed to a Chinese girl’s colorful tattoo that stretches from wrist to shoulder.
While the European or American girls usually have a little stupid tattoo on their neck, wrist or ass and they think they look so cool, Chinese girls have big ones, she said.
“It’s like a statement, something bold, strong and courageous. Chinese girls won’t have little baby ones.”
For a country that is still not as modern as the West in terms of thinking, girls having an enormous tattoo is still a taboo. “It is a statement that they own their body, which I admire very much.”