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November 17, 2012 6:06 PM   Subscribe

72 year-old Liu Xianping becomes an internet sensation after modeling his granddaughter's teen clothing line on her Tmall website.
posted by MaryDellamorte (60 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
I must admit he has the figure for it.
posted by orange swan at 6:08 PM on November 17, 2012 [21 favorites]


Ha. That's awesome.
posted by limeonaire at 6:10 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


SASSY!


In some of these he's got kind of Karl Lagerfeld thing going on. I love it.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:13 PM on November 17, 2012 [20 favorites]


WERQ
posted by elizardbits at 6:14 PM on November 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


The only way this could possibly delight me more is if they sold things in my size range.

Love. Him.
posted by Space Kitty at 6:15 PM on November 17, 2012


I love John Waters.
posted by four panels at 6:15 PM on November 17, 2012 [15 favorites]


I did not expect him to be that good at that.
posted by sweetkid at 6:16 PM on November 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'm gonna need that orange swing coat and the oxblood handbag. Can anyone here translate? And fund my new habit?
posted by Space Kitty at 6:19 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, grandpas are awesome.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:19 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


He makes it look really high-fashion.
posted by ichomp at 6:20 PM on November 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's much better without the wigs, tbh. He is fabulous enough already without them.
posted by elizardbits at 6:22 PM on November 17, 2012 [36 favorites]


Dude! He rocks! Great post, thanks!
posted by infini at 6:24 PM on November 17, 2012


He looks like a fabulous leprechaun in the last photo.

And I covet that orange coat/cape thing so, so much, even though I can never hope to wear it as well as him.
posted by maudlin at 6:27 PM on November 17, 2012


That is insanely great. If the clothes look this good on grandpa, they're sure to look great on you!
posted by xingcat at 6:30 PM on November 17, 2012


The ones without the wig are appealing to me because there he exudes this sort of refined, confident masculinity. You see those clothes on him, and you can't imagine they were ever made for anyone BUT him.




I think I also find this pleasing because it confirms the suspicion I have every time I struggle to get my hips into a pair of pants or button a shirt over my chest that most "women's" clothes really are made for men.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:35 PM on November 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Gungam Style shouldn't be unexpected at this point, should it?
posted by Mezentian at 6:50 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gangnam style is everywhere. Yesterday it was at a bus stop in Minneapolis courtesy of an East African kid, which automatically made the world at least three times better.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:54 PM on November 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


ITYM Gingham Style
posted by facetious at 6:56 PM on November 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


The granddaughter's shorts have a Jiang Zemin-style height to the waistband here which you might have expected from someone more granddad's age, not that he's letting such assumptions hold him back. 七十而从心所欲,不逾矩!
posted by Abiezer at 6:56 PM on November 17, 2012


I like this (the poise and the not-giving-a-fuck attitude) but I'm rather uncomfortable with it as well; Asian men in Western culture are so very often viewed as humorous (comic relief), asexual (wise sage/kung-fu monk or studious nerd), gay, or feminized somehow.
posted by flex at 7:20 PM on November 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


But this deliberately quirky/ funny thing wasn't produced for a US or Western audience ( and presumably went viral at least initially amongst Chinese/ East Asian audiences )
posted by Bwithh at 7:43 PM on November 17, 2012 [19 favorites]


Liu is demonstrating something I figured out years ago: being very skinny tends to make people much more androgynous, while being fat can really exaggerate gender differences. As a drag queen, one of the many frustrating things for me is that I love love love fat girls, I think fat girls are just super hot and awesome and I hate the fat phobia in American society... But at the same time, if I want to look more female, I have to starve myself. When genetic females put on some weight, it can just make them more curvy and sexy. When a man (or a drag queen) puts on weight, it goes to all the wrong places and it just butches us up. Some TG folks can really work the fat thing, but most of us just turn into Will Ferrell in a dress.

Flex: I'm rather uncomfortable with it as well; Asian men in Western culture are so very often viewed as humorous (comic relief), asexual (wise sage/kung-fu monk or studious nerd), gay, or feminized somehow.

You say grandpa is contributing to the feminization of the Asian male, I say he's looking great, having fun, and striking a blow for gender variance. (Not all of us think that being "feminized" is a bad thing.) He kind of answers your criticism, in the article:

"Why unacceptable (for someone like me to wear women’s clothes)? Modeling for the store is helping my granddaughter and I have nothing to lose. We were very happy on the day of the shooting. I’m very old and all that I care about is to be happy,"
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:11 PM on November 17, 2012 [39 favorites]


I realize that, Bwithh, but that is the cultural context most of us here are viewing it through.

Ursula, I am not criticizing him, and I don't say he's contributing to it. I said I like it, in fact, because I do like gender variance stuff. I don't think feminine equals bad. I'm just explaining why it makes me uncomfortable, even as I say that I reacted positively to it - I liked that quote from him that you pulled in your comment.
posted by flex at 8:15 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Flex, I'm not quite sure what is "bad" about any of those notions.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:18 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


that is the cultural context most of us here are viewing it through.

A purely subjective assessment, imho.
posted by infini at 8:20 PM on November 17, 2012


I can't imagine looking at this and feeling anything but delighted: he's enjoying himself and is clearly having a great time with his granddaughter.
posted by elizardbits at 8:22 PM on November 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Fine, carry on with your squee, I will keep my uncomfortable to myself so as not to bother anyone.
posted by flex at 8:26 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Senility is a heckuva drug.

(Kidding. I couldn't resist.)
posted by mistersquid at 8:28 PM on November 17, 2012


I think that two things are equally true here - (1) This is awesome, and (2) When US culture highlights awesome things done by Asian or Asian-American men, they tend to (but not always) inhabit a particular sphere (as mentioned before, de-gendered, de-sexualized, submissive, feminine, comedic). That's not meant to imply that we shouldn't enjoy what we enjoy, but that we should work to expand the cultural roles seen as available to Asian men in the US.
posted by muddgirl at 8:52 PM on November 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


It would be disturbing to me, too, if it seemed like he were being humiliated or taken advantage of, but that isn't what is happening here. He's fully present and confident, he's enjoying himself, and he's a genuinely good model. In the images without the wig especially, he's occupying a unique gender aesthetic and killing a look that few can pull off successfully, and most wouldn't dare attempt.

What's fun about this isn't that he looks "silly," it's that he doesn't - he looks amazing, genuinely stylish in very girly clothes.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:53 PM on November 17, 2012 [28 favorites]


I love him. That is all.
posted by scody at 8:56 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, he looks great!
posted by carter at 8:57 PM on November 17, 2012


My dad is a Pop-Pop, and Pop-Pop's are a special breed. He would completely and totally do this for any one or all of his four granddaughters. One day, I hope to be a Pop-Pop, too.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:03 PM on November 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


a noble aspiration.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:04 PM on November 17, 2012


I just aspire to looking this good in anything.
posted by howfar at 9:07 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


*looks down at spare tire* *sighs*
posted by infini at 9:14 PM on November 17, 2012


...it all started when one day her grandpa Liu came to help with unpacking: “He picked up one piece and tried to give some advice on how to mix and match. We thought it was fun so we started shooting.”

An object lesson for "mansplainers" everywhere...?
posted by Hal Mumkin at 9:14 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


This guy has great fashion sense. I can see it runs in the family. And I agree, it's sad that men's clothes are often boring. Guys like to dress up, too! Those shots of him without the wig are great.
posted by Foam Pants at 9:28 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


A great model who makes the clothes look even better. Thanks for the post!
posted by rtha at 9:33 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


One Day, I shall tell the tale of Pop-Pop Escobar, the true and perfect exemplar of Pop-Pop, the man whom my father modeled his entire post-career life after, the grandfather of his best friend's kids, his own father thankfully absent.

Pop-Pop Escobar only had four words in english to spare for me. Those four words are as follows:

"Good boy. Strong boy!"

I had just lifted a cast-iron stove onto a trailer for him, because Pop-Pop Escobar could ask for anything, and people would just do it. He needed that stove onto that trailer. I just did it. In return, I got four words whenever we saw each other after then, save for the very last time we met. He was dying of bone-cancer, but his fingernails were black from working in the loam to plant the winter garden.

He held my baby girl in his sinewy, powerful arms, and beamed down at her, and said to me, "Lovely girl. Strong girl!"

I am gonna be a Pop-Pop, to some-one, some day.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:57 PM on November 17, 2012 [25 favorites]


This is the best thing I have seen in weeks, thank you for posting it. I was trying to explain to someone just the other day how incredibly difficult it is to both look good in clothes and on camera at the same time. This gentleman is incredibly gifted, regardless of wigs, no wigs, age, or the gender of the clothes (as is shown in the last frame where he is in a dapper suit). The camera absolutely loves him. He is the sort of gentleman the Sartorialist would shoot regardless of what he was wearing, and it is apparent from the back story that he has a fantastic sense of style as well.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:38 PM on November 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


Flex: I'm rather uncomfortable with it as well; Asian men in Western culture are so very often viewed as humorous (comic relief), asexual (wise sage/kung-fu monk or studious nerd), gay, or feminized somehow.

You say grandpa is contributing to the feminization of the Asian male, I say he's looking great, having fun, and striking a blow for gender variance. (Not all of us think that being "feminized" is a bad thing.) He kind of answers your criticism, in the article:

"Why unacceptable (for someone like me to wear women’s clothes)? Modeling for the store is helping my granddaughter and I have nothing to lose. We were very happy on the day of the shooting. I’m very old and all that I care about is to be happy,"


He doesn't answer the question. He's Chinese, not Asian American, and thus he lacks the context of flex's point.

As a (gay, male) Asian American, I often find myself in a position of having to confront very difficult stereotypes. So if flex's discomfort arises out of sensitization, I find it completely understandable. Unlike flex, I don't feel much conscious ambivalence about this work; I think it's cool and funny. If this were an American-based company, I would probably feel quite different, because the audience is different and so the interpretation is different (I say this with the observation that "effeminacy" (for lack of a more neutral term) is conceptualized very differently between, in this instance, American and East Asian cultures.).

It doesn't matter whether people think "being feminized" is a bad thing. That's just a value judgment. It exists and is a bad thing in practice; it hurts real people. What matters is how it works, and how such destructive attitudes can be stopped.
posted by polymodus at 10:40 PM on November 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


Two daughters, three granddaughters and I think this is wonderful, good marketing and best treated as nonpolitical. I would be very flattered if my granddaughters asked me to do this but it will never happen--at 6'1",185 lbs, skinny legs and large trunk I would look like a fashionable Popsicle. At age 71 myself I am delighted to see things such as this.
posted by rmhsinc at 12:29 AM on November 18, 2012 [16 favorites]


This made my whole day. Also I'm gonna need that blue coat with the fur collar and the leather buckle-y thing, please.
posted by palomar at 1:05 AM on November 18, 2012


I just got back from Azerbaijan where I hear Gangnam Style multiple times a day.
posted by k8t at 3:46 AM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wonderful!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:24 AM on November 18, 2012


I demand to know why this man is not walking down the runways of Paris, Milan, and New York right now. He puts all of the supermodels of the West to shame.

Naomi, Natalia, Gisele, Kate, Tyra, Allessandra...girls, your days are numbered. This dude's got what it takes.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:18 AM on November 18, 2012


Welcome to the TMall, Foxy Grandpa.
posted by orme at 7:34 AM on November 18, 2012


He looks fantastic. If you covered the head, you'd never know that was a 72 year old man in those clothes. His poses have just the right attitude.
posted by maryr at 8:21 AM on November 18, 2012


It doesn't matter whether people think "being feminized" is a bad thing. That's just a value judgment. It exists and is a bad thing in practice; it hurts real people. What matters is how it works, and how such destructive attitudes can be stopped. (polymodus)

This is something I've been thinking about recently, because I'm in EMT school and EMS still has some people with odd ideas about Asian men. Like the guy who got to the history part of the scenario and just turned to me and said, "You look like the kind of guy who takes ED [erectile dysfunction] meds." Or my partner for lifting and moving practice who told me afterward, "Wow, you got me all the way off the ground. I was surprised!" Because masculinity is usually identified with physical strength. Sometimes I worry that I'll be on a job when the crew chief pulls me off a lift because he's not sure I'm strong enough.
posted by d. z. wang at 9:59 AM on November 18, 2012


Wearing women's clothing is a bad thing? What the fuck? What century is it?
posted by Brocktoon at 10:56 AM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have NEVER looked that awesome in ANYTHING! Get on with your bad self, Grampy.
posted by MissySedai at 6:19 PM on November 18, 2012


Wearing women's clothing is a bad thing? What the fuck? What century is it?

It seems like you are willfully trying not to understand the actual issue being raised here. Like, in the comment directly above yours even.
posted by sweetkid at 6:23 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow.

And yay.
posted by Empty Planet at 9:09 PM on November 18, 2012


Go grandad[miniscule, familiar]!

I wonder, though, how successful monetarily this ad campaign ultimately turns out to be. Could be a flash in the pan or a spotlight search thing for the store owner.
posted by porpoise at 10:12 PM on November 18, 2012


1. Grandpa sure knows how to work the catwalk!
2. LOVE that navy coat.
posted by stormpooper at 6:50 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Faaaaabulous!!!
posted by Hanuman1960 at 8:31 AM on November 19, 2012


Too fabulous.

Wait, no, exactly fabulous enough.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:53 PM on November 20, 2012


Surely you mean Absolutely Fabulous ?
posted by infini at 7:02 AM on November 21, 2012


Colorlines has picked up the story.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:29 AM on November 21, 2012


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