HONG KONG – Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday (June 29) to attend celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese sovereignty.
Here’s what the First Lady of China wore during her three-day visit:
Upon arrival at the Hong Kong International Airport last Thursday (June 29), Madam Peng stepped out in an elegant ensemble featuring a grey-striped jacket with a mandarin collar, paired with a khaki-coloured skirt. A white bag and light-coloured high heel shoes completed her outfit, which the First Lady later wore to visit a kindergarten in Kowloon Tong, where she watched student performances and chatted with them.
Local HK fashion designer Susanna Soo said the First Lady’s choice of outfit was likely to make people feel “familiar and comfortable”, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
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Compared with what she wore on her visit to the US in April, more traditional Chinese elements were showcased this time, according to Ms Soo.
“The feeling was almost reassuring,” she said.
“The tone in general was very refreshing and clean. It was easy on the eyes,” Ms Soo added.
Fashion designer William Tang Tat Chi showed appreciation for Madam Peng’s style, giving her 80 points out of 100 and said it was a breakthrough departure from the past, The Standard reported.
“It gives people a pleasant surprise to see her in a blouse with stripes. They make the whole appearance more casual. The jacket, in general, is very beautiful except that the collar was too high,” Mr Tang said.
Her shoes and bag were in pale tones, which was a good choice, and the general appearance of the first lady was fresh, simple and dignified, Mr Tang told The Standard.
Madam Peng attended a banquet with Hong Kong officials later that night, clad in a chestnut brown qipao, decorated with classic Chinese-style floral embroidery across the front. The traditional outfit was given a modern twist in the form of a shawl in a similar colour tone, a dark olive-coloured clutch and a pair of black velvet pumps.
The photo, which was uploaded on the HK government’s official Facebook page, has drawn comments from users like Kitty Lau, who said the first lady’s outfit was “really beautiful”.
On the second day of her visit to the city on Friday (June 30), the first lady paid a visit to an elderly care facility during the day, dressed in a black silk dress with a cheongsam collar and butterfly buttons matched with a thin brown leather belt and a floral brooch, the SCMP reported.
Local HK designer Kay Li said the look was less formal but more approachable, calling it “a style that would make people want to talk to her”.
Later that night, Madam Peng wore a cranberry-coloured jacket with an oriental stand collar over a pastel pink, flared A-line dress to attend a star-studded gala.
“Most of her other attire is very formal, elegant and graceful, but this is my favourite because I think it reflects her true style and is most flattering for her body shape. It just makes her look very happy and approachable,” Ms Li told the SCMP.
The outfit “lends a feminine and youthful image,” said Ms Jeanne Tan, an associate professor in the Polytechnic University’s Institute of Textiles and Clothing.
“All of her looks are classic and subtle, but she makes a lot of little modern tweaks in the accessories and details, while retaining a style that possesses strong Chinese influence,” she added.
As the celebrations wrapped up in Hong Kong on Saturday (July 1), the First Lady of China prepared to depart from the city dressed in a long-sleeved charcoal-grey qipao with black high-heel shoes.
“Madam Peng choosing to wear black must have been a very conscious decision so she doesn’t upstage Carrie Lam (on her big day). You can see from what Madam Peng usually wears that she’s not adverse to bright colours and high glamour,” said Ms Tan.
Despite Madam Peng’s more understated looks on Saturday, local fashion experts heaped praise on her elegant and polished style during the three-day visit, the SCMP reported.
Madam Peng was seen in public in five different outfits. All the designs paid homage to her Chinese heritage with a contemporary twist, according to experts.
“I would give her 100 marks for all her outfits. Her dresses are not very traditional, yet they are designs that have evolved from the original cheongsam and represent her love of Chinese tradition,” Ms Li told the SCMP.