I was looking forward to Fashion War and is pleasantly surprised that it actually had a storyline without being only a complete showoff. In terms of fashion, it slightly reminded me of TVB’s War of In-Laws II, but it moves at a much faster pace with a storyline completely revolving around office politics. For those of you who want something refreshing and away from the everyday gossip that appears in sitcoms or lighthearted family-centered comedies, this is it! I’m surprised that the storyline is so focused at the politics that it doesn’t take time to breathe in some romance with all our eye candy gentlemen and ladies. I suppose when all you see is everyone’s ugly inner side, it’s hard to fall in love. I get it.
Fashion War also marks the drama that brings back my liking for Moses Chan (陈豪). The last time I liked him was probably Family Man in 2002, which was only more than a decade ago. The guy is so fit for the role not only for his muscular and fit body, but has that pretentious superstar look without having much inner substance. I know that might not be the kindest way to put it, but it gets my point across.
I was traveling when this series started it’s air and by the time I got back, almost half of the series finished airing already. I figured I would skip out on writing my first impression thoughts this time around and just get to the review after the finale. My thoughts on the series are generally positive with a plot that drives itself, it’s quite fast-paced. For a 20-episode series, it also encompasses a larger cast than usual.
Imagine it as the modern-day War and Beauty without the high budget and A-listers we all love. Like or hate the office politics theme, it happens in every company more or less. It amazes me that anyone can have so much time for politics and still get their work done — but I guess we can multi-task and that’s why we have our left mind for scheming and right mind for doing the work we are actually getting paid to do.
Here is a little introduction to get to know the characters more!
Moses Chan – Ip Long
All Photo Credits: TVB.com
Occupation: Chief Editor, MODES Magazine
Personality: Proud, ruthless and unyielding, has a cool exterior, demanding boss, decisive, does not reveal feelings and open up to others
Background: Before joining MODES as it’s Chief Editor, he was an editor of a top magazine in the U.S. He is not afraid to wield his power as the Chief Editor and is also known as the “Trendsetter” by both insiders and outsiders. Despite this, most of the time he doesn’t know what’s the next trend, but just fakes it till he makes it.
Realizing that Yannes is very much similar to his younger self with great potential and talent, he mentors her to be his successor even if it means training her with tough love.
Him Law – Francis Fan
Occupation: Editor, MODES Magazine | Model, Beauty Model Agency (Previous)
Personality: Undisciplined, lazy, unmotivated, vain, stands up for and willing to help friends
Background: Previously a very popular model for Beauty Model Agency, he was banished temporarily to work as an editor in MODES following a make out scandal with a married celebrity. At MODES, he is a careless and unmotivated and spends most of his sleeping and waiting for his six month detention to be over. With many political issues revolving around MODES management and some blackmailing, he is only a pawn within the game and realizes his modeling career is over… or not.
Sisley Choi – Yannes Cheung
Occupation: Assistant Editor, MODES Magazine
Personality: Kind-hearted, persistent and determined, focused on pursuing dreams, believes the best in people, insightful and creative
Background: Before joining MODES, she was an online fashion blogger who lives in Sham Shui Po. Not only has she been a loyal follower of the magazine for years, but she sees Ip Long as her mentor and source of inspiration for taking interest in the fashion industry. Unlike every other employee at MODES, she’s more passionate about her work than trying to survive the political struggles.
She is also the reminder that the creative industry is less about hard work and experience, but more about innate talents, insights, and potential.
Ali Lee – Vincy Kee Wan Wan
Occupation: Advertising Director, MODES Magazine | Former socialite
Personality: Strong exterior and doesn’t show her weak side publicly, jealous at heart, narrow-minded and takes offense easily, plays politics and uses people to get what she wants
Background: Coming from a socialite background, she knows how to play the political, two-faced game of putting on a smile all the while on a mission to bring you down. After her husband left her, she has an even greater need to show the public how strong she is. She sees the ruthless Ip Long as her ultimate enemy as he forced her show her vulnerability publicly after her husband left her.
Also, later she brings back the fallen MODES Girl and recruits many employees away to take Ip Long down. Despite seeing Ip Long as her death enemy, she is also in many ways similar to him: not satisfied with the status quo and loves wielding power. Not everyone can be a game-on enemy, but she is one of them.
Vivien Yeo – Ada Tsui
Occupation: Editor, MODES Magazine | Rich Girl
Personality: Self-centered, spreads gossip and rumors, quietly jealous
Background: She comes from a wealthy background and her father is a shareholder and on the Board of HRG, the parent company that owns MODES. Despite this, she isn’t openly obnoxious, but secretly jealous of others who are more successful than herself, specifically Yannes. She is willing to wait for her turn for a promotion. She can also see through Ip Long’s favoritism towards Yannes.
Jacquelin Ch’ng – Danielle
Occupation: Editor, MODES Magazine | Ip Long’s right-hand woman
Personality: Smart, competent, reliable, indifferent, wily, jealous, willing to coach new staff
Background: As Ip Long’s right-hand woman, she is trusted by the man and seen as a reliable figure for any source of information within MODES. She may have been ambivalent and betrayed Ip Long, but when given another chance, she takes it and acts indifferent towards most office gossip and rumors.
Whitney Hui – Zoe Cheng
Occupation: Editor, MODES Magazine
Personality: Openly jealous, untrustworthy, two-faced
Background: She carries the same title as Ada, but without the connections to management and shareholders. Like Ada, she is also jealous and on the look out of Yannes who may get ahead of her. On many occasions, she tries to frame Yannes, unsuccessfully. She is a bit more open about her dislike towards Yannes than is Ada.
Leanne Li – Martha Man
Occupation: Owner, Beauty Model Agency | Former Model
Personality: Independent, well-socialized in the fashion industry, engages in immoral acts when met with no other options
Background: She retired from being a model for several speculated reasons and became the owner of Beauty Model Agency. While she is a well-socialized woman in the fashion industry, many times she is forced to perform acts that’s against her moral conscience. The models under her management include Francis, Phoebe, and Nana.
She is also responsible for Francis downfall as she was forced by Nana, whose father is a large shareholder of her agency.
Jeannie Chan – Meg Lam
Occupation: Assistant Editor, MODES Magazine (to Ada)
Personality: Innocent and submissive on the surface, but has a heart of jealousy towards co-workers and secretly betrays friends, two-faced
Background: Don’t be fooled by her sweetness and willingness to help. She becomes resentful and openly jealous of Yannes when a newcomer is promoted to Editor before she is. She is fired at one point and sides with Vincy later, hoping for a better opportunity with MODES Girl.
Roxanne Tong – Yuen Fong Fong
Occupation: Assistant Editor, MODES Magazine (to Zoe)
Personality: Honest, straightforward, silly, careless, and treats friends well
Background: Unlike the other mean-spirited girls in the office, Fong Fong is genuinely happy for Yannes’ wins at MODES. She is also content with her position and isn’t as ambitious as the other girls are.
Becky Lee – Ivy Lam
Occupation: Head of Social Media Department, MODES Magazine
Personality: Aspiring editor, but suppressed by Ip Long; secretly holds a grudge, but knows her place and is complacent
Background: Previously, the Chief Editor of MODES Girl, she was brought down from her high chair by Ip Long when the magazine wasn’t bringing in any revenue. Instead, he encouraged the Board to open up a new digital team to meet the market’s needs. While she became the head of the social media team, she quietly held a grudge on Ip Long when Vincy reminded her that she’s capable of more…
Lisa Ch’ng – Phoebe Sam
Occupation: Top Model (for MODES and later GINA Magazine)
Personality: Petty, narrow-minded, only accepts the most promising opportunities
Background: She is a top model for MODES and managed by Martha’s agency, but joins GINA Magazine when Meg shared with the public that she is secretly dating a photographer from MODES. Feeling both betrayed and wishing she can make more, she jumped ships.
She later regretted her decision when MODES won GINA in sales, but Ip Long couldn’t care less about someone who betrayed the MODES before.
Veronica Shiu – Nana Mok
Occupation: Model (for MODES Magazine) | Rich Girl
Personality: Loud, obnoxious, self-important, demanding
Background: Coming from a wealthy background, her father is a large shareholder of Martha’s agency so she feels every right to be bossing her boss around. She complains about everything that goes against her liking and responsible for Francis’s downfall as model. She only wants the best opportunities when it comes to her career and not afraid to confront Vincy when she finds out that she gave her crappy jobs. She is hated by most and blacklisted by Vincy.
Koni Lui – Zita Hung
Occupation: Chief Editor, GINA Magazine
Personality: Competitive, smart, but a bit naive and immature sometimes
Background: As Ip Long’s ex-girlfriend and former editor at MODES, GINA is MODES’s direct competitor. She makes every attempt to win over Ip Long but not in an underhand way. Her strategy is: if I can’t win Ip Long, I’m going to recruit him away and hire the guy.