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Take a rational view of Peking Opera-style bikinis

(People's Daily Online)

14:30, September 26, 2012

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Sexy models wearing Peking Opera-style bikinis at the 37th Miss Bikini International pageant have stunned many viewers, and caused quite a stir among Chinese netizens. Supporters hail it as an innovative move to carry forward Chinese theatre culture, while opponents consider it an insult to Chinese traditions.

Bikinis, a close-fitting two-piece bathing suit, have more visual impact than any other type of clothes, and were once considered “no less shocking than atom bombs”. Nowadays, they are synonymous with softness and natural body curves. Bikinis had not been widely accepted until the 1950s. Peking Opera, China’s national opera, was born more than 200 years ago when the “Four Great Anhui Troupes” brought Anhui opera to Beijing in 1790. The combination of bikinis and Peking Opera costumes is unusual, and such bold attempt should be encouraged. Whether the combination is harmonious and attractive is another story.

Whether the bikini models wearing Peking Opera headdresses can show the beauty of the traditional Chinese opera and their own body through various poses and movements tests the designers’ and organizers’ aesthetic abilities and sense of proportion. Stiff combination of bikinis, the modern art of exposure, and Peking Opera costumes, the implicit and time-honored art of concealment, would only create something awkwardly odd, and annoy both bikini and Peking Opera enthusiasts.

However, the innovation should be encouraged anyhow. Even though being a superficial and vulgar gimmick, the amazing debut is tolerated if it can promote the exchanges and fusion of Chinese and Western culture, because it will at least expand people's minds. Remember not to be satisfied merely with the form but should absorb the essence of other categories of arts and match to the cultural ethos. For example, the Peking Opera-style bikinis are acceptable, but it might just be the opposite of innovation and become transient and funny if the girls have not any Beijing Opera base but stiff moves and cold eyes, and even act on the stage.

Anyway, we should not completely negate or overly exalt the Peking Opera-style bikinis. It is an open and diversified era, so people should not be fettered by old conventions, otherwise there could not be fashion at all. As long as the transformation is suitable and successful, the Peking Opera-style bikinis may become a new fashion some years later. Just like what the familiar slogan has said, "Anything is possible."

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