New Chinese Fashion
Peng Liyuan lands in Moscow in fashionable attire, pleasing the Chinese back home, where she has a loyal following."Ms. Peng, by contrast, was more famous than her husband until he took power and has appeared regularly in front of audiences of hundreds of millions during China's annual Lunar New Year television pageants, often sporting elaborate hairdos and billowing ball dresses, or colorful ethnic minority dress," the Wall Street Journal says.
Photo Credit: Reuters
In that sense, she will follow in the footsteps of American First Ladies Michelle Obama and Jacqueline Kennedy.
Chinese social media were buzzing about the fashionable navy blue outfit she wore stepping off the plane in Russia and welcoming the international debut of her new role as a clear departure from her predecessors' low profile.
The praise of Ms. Peng, a famous folk singer, evoked the fuss over Michelle Obama in 2008 and built on expectations by many political analysts and diplomats that Ms. Peng will bolster and soften her husband's image by becoming the first wife of a Communist Chinese leader to play a role similar to that of a U.S. first lady.
"Now is the end of our quest for a graceful first lady," wrote the deputy editor in chief of the Hong Kong Commercial Daily newspaper in a widely circulated message on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging service. "China's first lady is no longer an old lady," said another Weibo message from lawyer Zhang Haimiao. "I wish China's future could be refreshed just like this first lady's appearance."
Ms. Peng was widely compared on social media sites to Soong Ching Ling, a famed beauty who was the wife of Sun Yat-sen, China's first republican president. Shortly after Ms. Peng's arrival in Moscow—which was shown on Chinese state television—a coat similar to the one she was wearing was on sale for 499 yuan ($80) on Taobao, an online marketplace run by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Similarly, entire brands—including the decidedly down-to-earth J. Crew—have gotten lifts from Mrs. Obama's fashion patronage.Of course, it remains to be seen how much political influence Peng will have in a nation that still has men controlling much of the levers of power; the influence will likely be more subtle, more softer. And, yet, fashion can be an encouraging sign for the Chinese that China wants to progress slowly as a modern state, at least, for now, in appearance only.
You can read the rest of the article at [WSJ]