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 7:13 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
A smuggler in Dandong, a Chinese border town near North Korea, tells CNN about the underground trade with North Korean soldiers
updated 2:54 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Yenn Wong got quite a surprise one morning earlier this month when she found out an exact copy of her Hong Kong restaurant had opened in China.
updated 11:15 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
When I first came across a "virtual lover" service on e-commerce site Taobao, China's version of Amazon, I thought it was hype.
updated 9:15 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Each year Yi Jiefeng does what she can to stop China turning into a desert.
updated 10:54 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China.
updated 10:29 PM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
Aspiring Chinese comics performing in Shanghai's underground comedy scene hope to bring stand-up to the masses.
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Liu Wen is one of the world's highest-paid models and the first Chinese face to crack the top five in Forbes' annual list of top earners.
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Fri October 3, 2014
Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist? C.Y. Leung was a relative unknown when he came to power in 2012.
updated 7:25 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
 A man uses his smartphone on July 16, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Only 53.5% of Japanese owned smartphones in March, according to a white paper released by the Ministry of Communications on July 15, 2014. The survey of a thousand participants each from Japan, the U.S., Britain, France, South Korea and Singapore, demonstrated that Japan had the fewest rate of the six; Singapore had the highest at 93.1%, followed by South Korea at 88.7%, UK at 80%, and France at 71.6%, and U.S. at 69.6% in the U.S. On the other hand, Japan had the highest percentage of regular mobile phone owners with 28.7%. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
App hopes to help those seeking a way out of China's overstrained public health system.
updated 8:20 PM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Yards from pro-democracy protests, stands the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
The massive street rallies that have swept Hong Kong present a major dilemma for China's leadership.
updated 3:07 AM EDT, Sat September 27, 2014
Chinese wine drinkers need to develop a taste for the cheap stuff, not just premium red wines like Lafite.
updated 9:09 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, set off a media kerfuffle this month when he spoke about his next reincarnation.
updated 10:18 AM EDT, Sun September 28, 2014
He's one of the fieriest political activists in Hong Kong — he's been called an "extremist" by China's state-run media — and he's not old enough to drive.
updated 10:57 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
China has no wine-making tradition but the country now uncorks more bottles of red than any other.
updated 5:29 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Christians in eastern China keep watch in Wenzhou, where authorities have demolished churches and removed crosses.
updated 1:38 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Home-grown hip-hop appeals to a younger generation but its popularity has not translated into record deals and profits for budding rap artists.
ADVERTISEMENT