Peng Liyuan is a popular Chinese folk music and opera singer and the wife of Chinese president, Xi Jinping. A native of Yuncheng County, Shandong, Peng was a finalist at the First National TV Chinese Vocal Contest and is best known for works including People from Our Village and On the Plains of Hope.
Web users praise first lady Peng Liyuan's fashion sense
Peng Liyuan's fashion sense on first overseas trip is a hit online, and designer says the way she and president dress matches their identities
The first public appearance of Peng Liyuan on her maiden foreign trip as China's first lady won praise from mainland internet users and a top Hong Kong fashion designer.
Mainland microblogs were filled with postings from people eagerly anticipating what Peng, a famous soprano, would wear and many said they would watch China Central Television's 7pm newscast just because of her.
"We finally have a presentable first lady for the first time since the establishment of the People's Republic of China [in 1949]," several internet users wrote on QQ weibo, a microblog run by internet giant Tencent.
Many pictures were posted online just minutes after she emerged from the presidential plane yesterday afternoon, with many postings praising her for her natural and graceful hairstyle.
"She looks so elegant and graceful, even though her dress is so different from her previous stage costume, but I like it," one microblogger wrote.
But there were also critics. Some microblog postings said her outfit was off-season, compared with those of American first lady Michelle Obama and former French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
"But when you look at the dresses of Wang Yeping and Liu Yongqing , [the wives of former presidents Jiang Zeming and Hu Jintao ], you would find Peng is much more fashionable and presentable," another weibo user responded.
Hong Kong fashion designer William Tang said the outfits worn by Peng and Xi were "in line with their identities". "I am so proud of the first couple because they know how to dress in line with their identities, especially Peng, who used to be dressed in exaggerated theatrical costume, but now she finds her own style," he said.
"The first couple's outfits were low-profile, graceful and comfortable, their simple and tidy hairdos, Peng's handbag and shoes as well as the colours of their scarves all matched with each other very well."
Some microblog users speculated that Peng's handbag was by luxury brand Tods.
Tang said that Xi and Peng's fashion style could match their Western counterparts.
"They are the best-dressed first couple in more than six decades," he said. "Other than the late Zhou Enlai , I think Xi is only the second leader who knows how to dress comfortably and appropriately."
Businessmen were quick to cash in on the frenzy, with advertisements for copies of Peng's coat and handbag quickly posted on Taobao, the mainland's major online shopping website.
One offered a copy of the coat Peng wore for just 499 yuan (HK$620).