World leaders wear silk tunics for photo

December 2, 2006


Staff and agencies
20 November, 2006

11 minutes ago

HANOI, Vietnam – The men wore blue and the women wore pink — but it wasn‘t a throwback to childhood stereotypes.

The leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit selected the colors themselves. Sky blue was most popular among the men — including President Bush — with a smattering of reds, greens and yellows for a diplomatic rainbow effect. All the women leaders chose pink.

The centuries-old ao dai was banned briefly after Vietnam‘s communist revolution but is now worn by schoolgirls — usually white, symbolizing purity. As girls grow older, they move into pastel shades. Married women wear strong, rich colors.

The tradition of posing in clothing symbolic of the host country began when the leaders wore leather bomber jackets at their first APEC summit in Seattle in 1993. Over the years, the leaders have posed in Indonesian batik, Filipino barong and Chilean ponchos.

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