Alison Mary Ching Yeung's tastes run toward the flamboyant, which coincides with the growing hunger she sees among China’s newly wealthy to "find looks that stand out." Her daring red stilettos ($650), black lace-up boots ($1,570), and leopard-print slippers ($230) do just that, embodying her philosophy that fashion is about "contradictions and tensions." As she says, "You get your orgasm with the high heel and find Zen with the slipper."
Yeung grew up inthe U.K. and traveled the globe for a private-equity firm before launching her Shanghai-based company in 2009, and she brings a playful fusion of national identities and symbols to her work. Last fall, she launched a new line of luxury leather shoes, Chinese Whispers, designed in Shanghai but made in Italy. And it's not only Chinese fashionistas snatching up her footwear: London's Victoria and Albert Museum acquired a pair of stilettos for its permanent collection on contemporary Chinese design.
Through her opulent footwear (her first bestseller was cashmere slippers with Chinese motifs) and accessories, Yeung hopes to redefine "Made in China." Rather than connoting cheap, poorly made knockoffs, the phrase will signal luxury, creativity, and high quality.