The fashion world always encourages pushing the envelope, with catwalks across the globe featuring uniquely constructed garments, women sporting men’s suits, men flaunting high heels in double-digit sizes and even an 81-year-old model. One Chinese man, however, has transcended the barriers of both age and gender with his recent foray into modeling.
Seventy-two-year-old Liu Xianping arrived one day at his granddaughter’s teen girls’ clothing store Yuekou, which she and four other women opened in May after graduating college, to help unpack garments, the blog Offbeat China reported. What started as a menial task became a photo shoot spotlighting Liu posing in thigh-high crimson socks, bubble-gum pink skirts, tangerine capes and oversize sunglasses with pink frames when he decided to offer some fashion tips to the young entrepreneurs.
“He picked up one piece and tried to give some advice on how to mix and match,” Liu’s granddaughter, identified as Ms. Lv, told Offbeat China. “We thought it was fun so we started shooting.”
The Daily Mail reported that Ms. Lv posted the photos on Tmall, one of China’s top retail sites, and saw Yuekou’s sales increase fivefold. The company’s newest advertising campaign now features Liu modeling an array of feminine outfits including ribbon, lace and colored tights.
Chinese consumers have quickly embraced the grandfather, Offbeat China reported. Women have expressed envy over the elderly man’s frame. One fan even compared Liu to Karl Lagerfeld.
“He has such a good figure, especially those legs!” the website reported one fan as saying.
Although he is an unconventional model, Liu — who ventured into the fashion world 56 years later than the average American model does — views his stint as fashion muse as an opportunity to enjoy himself.
“Why unacceptable (for someone like me) to wear women’s clothes? Modeling for the store is helping my granddaughter and I have nothing to lose,” Liu said. “We were very happy on the day of the shooting. I’m very old and all that I care about is to be happy.”