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Billionaire Xu slammed for 'spoiling' high fashion

TAINTED BY ASSOCIATION: Xu, in handcuffs, was seen wearing what looked like a Giorgio Armani jacket from the brand's collection last spring, as seen on a model.


    Nov 05, 2015

    Billionaire Xu slammed for 'spoiling' high fashion


    NETIZENS in China have bemoaned that arrested billionaire fund manager Xu Xiang made a fashion faux pas after a photo of him in handcuffs and wearing what looked like a white doctor's coat made its rounds online.

    They noted that Xu's coat looked strikingly like a Giorgio Armani jacket but he was not able to carry it off well and "disgraced" the fashion label.

    Xu, who completed only high school but is worth more than 4 billion yuan (S$883 million), was detained on Sunday on suspicion of insider trading and stock market manipulation, reported the official China Daily.

    The 37-year-old's company Zexi Investment, which is one of China's largest private funds, has repeatedly generated returns exceeding 300 per cent from short-term investments, since its launch in 2009.

    But Chinese netizens were more interested in his dress sense than his alleged misdeeds when they saw a photo of him in handcuffs.

    Some sarcastically asked why a doctor would keep his wrinkled white robe on as police took pictures of him, reported the Beijing Evening Daily.

    According to the newspaper, the "white robe" resembled a Giorgio Armani jacket from last spring, with a price tag of more than S$4,400. For comparison, China Daily juxtaposed Xu's picture with photos showing professional models in Armani blazers, similar to the one worn by Xu.

    One fan lamented that "bad reviews" must be given to the Armani piece on Xu as it looked like it was from a roadside stall.

    Others offered fashion advice, such as telling Xu that "short people would look even shorter in an overcoat", although he is believed to be about 1.7m tall.

    Some fashion insiders defended the jacket's design, saying that it fits the trend of "normcore" - a merger of "normal" and "hardcore", which means simple and yet stylish.

    "The problem is not with the clothes but the person who wears them," China Daily quoted a fashion watcher as saying.

    China's top e-commerce platform Taobao also condemned Xu's fashion sense, as it has prompted some e-shop owners to offer jackets similar to the one he wore at much cheaper prices, hoping to capitalise on the buzz.

    China's financial news website yn.winshang pointed out that Armani is but the latest designer brand whose image was tainted by China's new rich, following in the footsteps of Givenchy, Hermes and Louis Vuitton.

    Born into a well-to-do family in Ningbo city in south-east Zhejiang province, Xu showed an interest in the stock market when he was in high school, reported the South China Morning Post.

    In 2005, he moved to Shanghai, where he set up Zexi four years later with 30 million yuan as registered capital.

    When he was arrested, he was managing close to 20 billion yuan in assets and is widely regarded as China's No. 1 hedge fund manager.


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