Even before her husband became the next Chinese leader, the wife of President Xi Jinping, Peng Liyuan, was already turning heads with her fashion choices as a famous folk singer in the world's second largest economy.
Now, China's first lady has landed on the coveted annual Vanity Fair international best-dressed list. Her U.S. counterpart Michelle Obama, however, has not made the list for the second time since 2007.
Peng, 51, is the only Chinese person to the make the prestigious list this year, together with the likes of celebrities Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.
Peng drew worldwide attention in March, when she received accolades for an outfit worn during a trip to Russia with her husband. Vanity Fair said her ensemble of a black double breasted and belted coat, and a handbag by Chinese fashion label Exception was the most notable of 2013 (pictured).
The Chinese first lady has since appeared frequently in fashion news, and been described in the media as "photogenic," "glamorous," and even nicknamed as the "Carla Bruni of the East" after singer and former model wife of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
China had hoped Peng could deploy her charms on America during an official trip with Xi to California in June, but her appearance to the media was limited because of the absence of Michelle Obama, who decided to remain in Washington during that time. Obama's move was widely interpreted in the media as a snub to Peng.
Peng's entry into the Vanity Fair list is generating buzz on social media, with many Twitter users lauding her elegant and fashionable style.
Grace Lam tweeted
Beginning of Beijing Fashion? China's first lady Peng Liyuan makes @VanityFair's best dressed list #ChinaBiz #china
Others took to comparing Peng to U.S. first lady Michelle Obama.
L.A. Times film editor Julie Makinen tweeted
Justin Hill tweeted
While Financial Times fashion editor Vanessa Friedman questioned the geopolitics behind the fashion list and tweeted
#MObama is NOT on the #VFbestdressed list; only first lady to make the cut: China's Peng Liyuan. Is there a geopolitical pt being made here?
—By CNBC.com's Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani; Follow her on Twitter