Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Forget Gangnam style; Chinese farmer does 'Grandpa style'

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN
updated 8:12 AM EST, Thu November 22, 2012
Liu Qiangping spent decades working as a farmer in Hengyang, Hunan province, before turning his hand to modeling for his granddaughter's online fashion business. He's 72. Liu Qiangping spent decades working as a farmer in Hengyang, Hunan province, before turning his hand to modeling for his granddaughter's online fashion business. He's 72.
HIDE CAPTION
China's model grandfather
China's model grandfather
China's model grandfather
China's model grandfather
<<
<
1
2
3
4
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A 72-year-old grandfather has become an Internet hit after modeling young fashion
  • Liu Qianping appears on China's version of eBay, wearing short skirts and tights
  • His granddaughter invited him to visit her, and he tried on a hot pink cloak
  • Their photos online have attracted a lot of talk on social media

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Wearing aviator sunglasses and a selection of thigh-high tights and frilly skirts, 72-year-old Liu Qianping has caused quite a stir in China.

In the past few weeks, images of the former farmer from Hunan province have appeared on Taobao, the Chinese version of eBay, marketing clothes for Yecoo, a business set up by his granddaughter Lv Ting and four of her friends.

Lv told CNN she invited her grandfather to visit her in the southern province of Guangzhou earlier this month, and while unpacking boxes of clothes to sell, he pulled out -- and slipped on -- a hot pink cloak.

Struck by how well he wore it, a friend assembled some amateur lighting and starting taking photos that were later posted online.

There's Liu in a white tights, a pink skirt and a fur-lined red polka dot coat. In other images, he's posing demurely in bright green leggings, clutching a handbag and wearing a layered pink shawl. Sometime he wears a wig, sometimes not, but the aviator glasses are always present.

My grandfather is happier than before, he enjoys being interviewed. He calls our relatives at our hometown about his experiences here in the city.
Lv Ting

Liu has attracted a lot of attention on Weibo, China's version of Twitter.

"That's a good example of 'Enjoying life at the moment.' The old man enjoys it. And it's making me happy too!" writes one user, whose handle translates to "Kite walking on the ground."

Aging stylishly, online and in the streets

@S_ziming writes: "I love this grandpa! And I hope life for all elderly people can be as interesting and colorful."

But others aren't so sure: "Is he crazy, being weird and mess around like this?"

@GuYue adds: "Neither fish nor fowl, inappropriate."

Lv told CNN that her grandfather is loving the attention.

"My grandfather is happier than before, he enjoys being interviewed; he calls our relatives at our hometown about his experiences here in the city," she said.

Liu's fame has also translated into higher sales for the fledgling company, which only launched in May.

Sales have surged fivefold since his image appeared on the site, an unforeseen benefit according to Lv, who says the photos were just taken for fun.

"I wasn't intended to raise the sales. It's just for fun, for both my grandfather and me. I'm surprised that this went viral online," she said.

Lv said she had no intention of hiring any other "older" models. And no, he wasn't paid.

The range of clothes Liu models has now been dubbed "Grandpa style."

And they'll take more photos, Lv says, as long as Liu enjoys it.

When fashion and reality collide

CNN's CY Xu and Dayu Zhang contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:59 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
Chinese students show a handmade red ribbon one day ahead of the the World AIDS Day, at a school in Hanshan, east China's Anhui province on November 30, 2009.
Over 200 Chinese villagers in Sichuan province have signed a petition to banish a HIV-positive eight-year-old boy, state media reported.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A Chinese couple allegedly threw hot water on a flight attendant and threatened to blow up the plane, forcing the Nanjing-bound plane to turn back to Bangkok.
updated 12:03 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China's 1.3 billion citizens may soon find it much harder to belt out their national anthem at will.
updated 7:21 PM EST, Tue December 9, 2014
Like Beijing today, Los Angeles in the last century went through its own smog crisis. The city's mayor says LA's experience delivers valuable lessons.
updated 12:42 AM EST, Sat December 6, 2014
At the height of his power, Zhou Yongkang controlled China's police, spy agencies and courts. Now, he's under arrest.
updated 3:26 AM EST, Fri December 5, 2014
China says it will end organ transplants from executed prisoners but tradition means that donors are unlikely to make up the shortfall.
updated 1:48 AM EST, Fri December 5, 2014
China's skylines could look a lot more uniform in the years to come, if a statement by a top Beijing official is to believed.
updated 3:55 AM EST, Wed December 3, 2014
Despite an anti-corruption drive, China's position on an international corruption index has deteriorated in the past 12 months.
updated 7:01 AM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
A daring cross-border raid by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's associates has -- so far -- yet to sour Sino-Russian relations.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
A 24-hour Taipei bookstore is a hangout for hipsters as well as bookworms.
updated 8:53 PM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
updated 5:57 AM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
North Korean refugees face a daunting journey to reach asylum in South Korea, with gangs of smugglers the only option.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure.
ADVERTISEMENT