I guess it was fashionable in 1966 for Taiwan’s leadership to dress in full military regalia. For someone who proclaimed himself a Generalissimo, it’s only fitting, no? When my mom and her parents visited Taiwan a year before this photo was snapped of Chiang Kai-shek addressing a Double Ten celebration (Taiwan’s National Day, held on October 10th), they met fashionable women across the island. (Sadly, they didn’t encounter the uber-fashionable Madame Chiang, aka Soong Mei-Ling).
Here are my mom and grandma posing with Taiwanese women out in some remote area, away from the hustle of Taipei. I love the women’s floral patterns and elaborate beads. In fact, this photo makes me want to raid my mom’s closet to recover a floral padded vest I once bought her in Hong Kong in the 1990s. She’s in Tashkent now, so won’t even notice.
And certainly no photo from 1965 Taiwan would be complete without a qipao or cheongsam, the form fitting, mandarin-collared Chinese dress. I love the contrast in this photo of the woman wearing the blue qipao and those standing off to the left in traditional costume. Old Taiwan versus New China. Or Free China, as my grandma penned in her postcards back then. (Sadly, life in mainland China in 1965 wasn’t fairing as well. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution would begin the following year, at the very time the Generalissimo addressed his audience above.)
Of course, now everyone wears jeans and we all look alike, from Toledo to Taipei. And probably even Tashkent.