Time-hon­ored at­tire meets high fash­ion

China Daily (Canada) - - TIBET - By XIN­HUA in Lhasa

Mod­els walked down the cat­walk like rain­bows fol­low­ing a storm, their col­or­ful gar­ments flap­ping in the wind and their con­fi­dence beam­ing like sun rays break­ing through the clouds. A fash­ion show in Lhasa, cap­i­tal of the Ti­bet au­ton­o­mous re­gion, on Sept 2 fea­tured tra­di­tional Ti­betan eth­nic cos­tumes, but with a 21st-cen­tury flair.

The fash­ion show was held as part of Sho­ton Fes­ti­val, which be­gan on Sept 1.

The fes­ti­val, also known as the Yo­gurt Ban­quet Fes­ti­val, is a week-long ex­trav­a­ganza that has been held since the 11th cen­tury. It was orig­i­nally a re­li­gious oc­ca­sion when lo­cals would of­fer yo­gurt to monks who had fin­ished their med­i­ta­tion re­treats.

This year’s event fea­tured Ti­betan opera per­for­mances, hik­ing and ex­hi­bi­tions fea­tur­ing thangka, paint­ings and pho­to­graphs. Last year, more than 200,000 peo­ple vis­ited Lhasa for the fes­ti­val.

Penpa Tashi, 21, was one of the mod­els in­volved in the fash­ion show. In an ex­quis­ite, an­kle- length golden silk robe, the Xizang Minzu Univer­sity stu­dent ex­uded con­fi­dence and poise as she walked down the seven-me­ter-long red­car­peted cat­walk. Her grace­ful­ness is no sur­prise, Penpa is an old hand at this, hav­ing dab­bled in mod­el­ing for years, and is a three-time fes­ti­val vet­eran.

“Tra­di­tional Ti­betan clothes are of­ten ex­quis­ite and sump­tu­ous, and what I wore to­day was a prime ex­am­ple of that,” Penpa said.

“It was a great show,” said Chen, a tourist from neigh­bor­ing Sichuan prov­ince. “I re­ally liked what I saw, and I or­dered some Ti­betan clothes to wear for cel­e­bra­tions at home.”

Among the au­di­ence were many of the older Ti­betan gen­er­a­tion, who were in awe at the way in which the de­sign­ers had knit­ted to­gether the old and new to cre­ate some­thing re­flec­tive of Ti­bet, where tra­di­tion and moder­nity meet.

“I am so very proud that our eth­nic clothes are on dis­play,” said Pasang, a lo­cal who watched the show. “Our clothes are a re­flec­tion of our wis­dom, cre­ativ­ity and artis­tic taste.”

The clothes were tra­di­tional, but looked quite mod­ern and fash­ion­able.”

Model Thubten Gy­atso was de­ter­mined to make this year’s show one of the best he has ever walked in.

“What I wore to­day was bet­ter qual­ity and more fash­ion­able than any­thing I have worn for past shows,” Thubten said. “The clothes were tra­di­tional, but looked quite mod­ern and fash­ion­able.”

There are more than 20 types of Ti­betan eth­nic clothes, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment fig­ures. In Lhasa, for ex­am­ple, the tra­di­tional at­tire is a long, heavy robe, which is worn with a thick, wide ma­te­rial belt. It fea­tures a wide, round col­lar and is very prac­ti­cal dur­ing the win­ter months as it keeps out the bit­ter cold.

De­signer Tashi said that all the clothes on show were al­tered to re­flect mod­ern sar­to­rial trends.

“I tried to com­bine tra­di­tional crafts­man­ship with con­tem­po­rary fash­ion styles,” he said. “I hope that by do­ing so, I am not only pro­mot­ing our cul­ture, but help­ing to pro­mote Ti­betan cos­tume to the younger gen­er­a­tion.”


A Ti­betan girl (top) walks the cat­walk at the fash­ion show. Above: A Ti­betan man dis­plays his tra­di­tional cos­tume at the fash­ion show.

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