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Six Chinese models in Victoria’s Secret show Shanghai 2017

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Tang Dynasty (618-907)

Compared to just two Asians out of 44 models in 2015, Victoria’s Secret annual show in Paris 2016 featured four models from China (total 51).

The latest news is that the next lingerie fashion show “will take place in Shanghai in November 2017, marking the first time the ultra-glam annual affair in Asia.”

Six Chinese models, including one French national of Chinese descent, will participate in this performance. The lingerie market in China is certainly to expand rapidly.

Lingerie in Western style is of course still new to mainland Chinese. However, lingerie itself is absolutely nothing new to Chinese as we can trace it back to the time when people wore silky apparels two thousand years ago. In Chinese it was named as 褻衣 .

Beautiful and glamorous silky lingerie and clothing reached its height in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). According to the ancient drawings, the design for daily dresses deliberately showed the deep cleavage in the front with low cut vests whereas the bedroom lingerie was basically a small piece of silky cloth with tiny straps.

In the early Tang era, some princess were well known for living in polyandry in the royal palace. When the first Chinese empress Wu Zetian (624-705) came to power in 684, her polyandry life was naturally deemed as normal. Therefore, you can imagine how ‘open-minded’ the women and how popular the lingerie could be during the Tang Dynasty.

A TV drama on Wu in 2014/5 drew record high number of audience, and drove the people mad partly because of the alluring and sensational clothing on show. This part of culture, unfortunately, ended when the influential Confucian scholars in the Sung Dynasty said no to it and enforced the moral values of putting women in an inferior status to men.

However, the love for both beauty and silk is a basic instinct inside the Chinese women. So, you can see many women wearing curvy ‘cheongsam gown in high fork’ showing the legs in the past 100 years. Now, the modern Chinese women are officially welcoming lingerie. Furthermore, Chinese women will not be simply satisfied with showing their charms in lingerie because our history tells us that they are also excellent at political skills. Empress Wu Zetain is generally regarded by historians as one of the best leaders in China. Female Chinese top leaders like Germany’s Merkel may emerge after 50 years and by that time, perhaps, more than half of human population worldwide would be governed by women. Given their good track records, we may be able to live in peace in such a new age.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.

Tony Simon

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