No, it's not "Beijing Fashion Week." It's actually a Chinese Communist Party political convention.
China's political elite have gathered in Beijing this week for the annual twin meetings of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC). And Chinese netizens are taking to Asian micro-blogging sites to note that some of their representatives are turning up for the annual political powwows decked out in some rather conspicuously high-end French and Italian designer duds. Among the luxury labels in the fashion parade: Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Bottega Veneta, according to a report in MP Life, translated via the English-language ChinaSmack blog.
Take, for instance, Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC) committee member Song Zuying (pictured in the photo at right), who arrived to participate in the conference in "a fur coat, [and] on her feet she wears Chanel's Autumn-Winter collection gold chain boots," MP Life wrote. (Retail value for the boots: $1,500, according to one shopping website--if you can still snag a pair.)
For CPPCC committee member and Heng Da chairman Xu Jiayin, the choice was Hermes. Mr. Xu "turns up late and is besieged and chased by journalists," MP Life reported on the arrival frenzy (photo below). "His Hermes leather belt was revealed by a fellow netizen to retail for 20,000 RMB"—or just over $3,100, according to the current exchange rate.
Noted MP Life, American political leaders are generally more careful about the signals they and their spouses' sartorial choices send to the voting public about superior financial means. "When the wife of the U.S. President participates in national conferences, she just wears regular, second-rate or third-rate brands like J. Crew," MP Life commented, according to a translated post on the ChinaSmack blog, before adding with apparent sarcasm: "It's easy to then see that the quality of life and taste of our kingdom's people's representatives are leading the world!" (In other words, no sweater vests here.)
The Chinese commentariat's reaction to the extravagant displays of luxury-brand consumption (if arguably excellent fashion taste) by their political elite has been mixed, according to a sampling of translated comments posted to Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo (not all of them printable here). Among them:
Can the name be changed to "Luxury Brands Representatives Conference"?
Looks like it's the annual China Fashion Week!
You're supposed to go to the conference to represent the people, not to show off your wealth.
More photos and translated Chinese commenter reactions here.
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