Giant Tunic Suit Salutes Sun Yat-sen and China's 1911 Revolution

A huge gray “Mao Suit” now on display in the Chinese city of Ningbo celebrates both the 1911 Revolution against China's creaky Qing Dynasty and revolutionary Father of the Nation, Dr. Sun Yat-sen.   

This year China is celebrating the 1911 Revolution which saw the decaying and decadent Qing Dynasty and Pu-Yi, the "Last Emperor", overthrown and replaced by the Republic of China. The leader and inspiration of the revolution, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, is still revered today but not only for his role in laying the groundwork for modern China: the Doc was one mean fashion trendsetter!

Dr. Sun Yat-sen (above, left) is so closely associated with the classic Zhongshan-style suit, one of his informal nicknames is “Mr. Zhongshan”. It seems that in the aftermath of the revolution, Dr. Sun wanted to effect a change in popular clothing styles. This was no trivial matter, but the continuation of a Chinese tradition in which a new look in clothing reflects the promise of a new administration.

Recalling the casual clothing popular at the time in China's southern Guangdong province, Dr. Sun worked with a clothing designer and suggested a number of modifications that resulted in the classic Chinese tunic suit still worn today: a turned-down collar, four pockets, and five buttons down the front center line to close it.

Pleased with the sedate yet modern style of the new Zhongshan-style suit, Dr. Sun began wearing blue or gray versions to public events and the style quickly caught on with government officials and the public at large.  

The giant gray Zhongshan-style suit currently on display in Ningbo, located in east China's Zhejiang Province, is six times the size of an everyday Chinese tunic. The buttons alone are the size of dessert plates. It's not certain what will become of the suit once it's removed from public display but if David Byrne ever decides to re-form the Talking Heads and take the band out touring, tell him there's a suit in Ningbo that'd be perfect for him. (via Xinhuanet and TooToo News