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Chinese New Year Reinforces Return to Fashion of 'APEC Jackets'
This week's Lunar New Year holiday has confirmed the return to high fashion in China of traditional brightly-coloured silk jackets of the type modelled by world leaders at a summit in Shanghai last year.

Many Chinese people visiting Beijing could be seen on Wednesday proudly sporting the round-collared jackets, decorated with peony motifs and elaborate buttons, as they toured temples and parks.

"I find them elegant," said Wang Nan, a woman in her 30s resplendent in a jacket of red silk, wandering through the Daoist Dongyue temple in the centre of Beijing.

Apart from the traditionally festive colour of red, also associated with happiness and luck, other Beijingers, especially the men, opt for jackets in blue, representing power.

"It's a return to tradition and at the same time something connected to the festivities," said a man in his 50s wearing an electric blue jacket, the ensemble topped with a cowboy hat.

The new fashion craze was sparked by last October's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum leaders' summit in Shanghai.

At the end of the meeting, as is traditional at APEC gatherings, the 20 world leaders lined up for a photograph in traditional dress from the host country, in this case the silk jackets.

According to Chinese media, this New Year the craze for traditional jackets, previously largely contained to the capital, has spread to many other large towns around the country.

The Xinhua news agency said the inhabitants of Lanzhou, a town in northeast China, have also adopted the jackets "like never before in modern times" as they celebrate the new Year of the Horse.

(China Daily February 14, 2002)

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