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First lady sparks frenzy over domestic fashion brands

By Wang Zhuoqiong  (China Daily)

07:56, March 26, 2013

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and his wife Peng Liyuan wave upon their arrival in Moscow, capital of Russia, March 22, 2013. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow Friday for a state visit to Russia. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

The moment when China's first lady Peng Liyuan made her diplomatic debut upon her arrival at Moscow on Friday - wearing a dark navy overcoat, a light turquoise silk scarf with a matching handbag - the Chinese fashion industry got a boost.

Images of Peng stepping off a plane arm-in-arm with her husband, President Xi Jinping, have circulated widely on the Internet, prompting praise for her style, which Web users described as understated and sophisticated.

It's not clear which company or companies designed the clothes worn by Peng in Moscow.

While a report in China Business News said Peng was wearing a jacket and purse made by Exception de Mixmind - a top-end Guangzhou-based brand - another report on news portal said the Guangzhou Administration of Quality and Technology Supervision confirmed that Peng's clothes were custom-made by Ma Ke, the chief designer for the Wu Yong brand.

Both brands have declined to comment.

However, regardless of the brand, Peng's endorsement of Chinese labels has surprised millions of Chinese who favor foreign fashion brands.

The first lady's style was dubbed by netizens as Liyuan style. The exact purse and coat she donned have become top search items on, a major shopping website.

Also, Exception's physical stores have seen a rising number of visitors.

Domestic fashion brands' stock prices were also boosted on Monday by the first lady's choice. Shares of Dayang Trands, which has made suits for many State leaders, rose about 10 percent on Monday, while shares of high-end fashion brand Kaiser China Holding Co Ltd increased 3.04 percent and Lancy Group was up 10 percent.

Local designers and fashion brands always get a boost when the wives of State leaders choose domestic brands for important occasions.

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