A stylish touch of snake

Updated: 2013-02-13 10:24

By Gan Tian (China Daily)

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A stylish touch of snake

Four stamps for the Year of the Snake designed by Wu Guanying. Liu Junfeng / for China Daily

Anything with a snake theme is in vogue this year - from sportswear to gadgets and accessories, to fashion, footwear and even stamps - as the country edges nearer the Year of the Snake on the traditional Chinese calendar.

Sporting giant Adidas is kicking off its year right, with various products, including two specially designed "reptile-skinned" versions of the classic Superstar 80's silhouette sneaker.

Both models are crafted out of faux snakeskin material with leather and suede contrasts, in addition to a jade lace-lock with a Chinese character of "she", or "snake", on it.

The tag also takes the shape of jade, delivering a strong overall sense of Chinese tradition.

A new reversible jacket in Adidas' collection has also been designed to appeal to those looking to celebrate this favorite Chinese time of year.

One side uses red silk material with snakeskin patterning, while the other is black, with serpent embroidery on the back.

Elsewhere, there's a tracksuit with the brand's classic three stripes in snakeskin, and T-shirts printed with snakes in an "88" shape.

Simon Millar, Adidas' vice-president of marketing in China, said: "The Spring Festival and shengxiao, or the Chinese zodiac, is special in Chinese culture.

"These snake-inspired designs represent the real spirit of Chinese New Year."

Snakeskin design also features strongly elsewhere in the footwear world.

UGG Australia, for instance, best known for its comfy sheepskin boots, has produced some serpent skin patterned products.

Its latest high-heeled sandals are decorated with wild brown serpent skin, and are being billed by the company as the highlight of its upcoming 2013 spring summer collection.

To match, consumers can choose a same-pattern clutch, with camel tassels.

Though the label avoids claiming the products have been specially designed for the Year of the Snake, it launched them in Chinese markets in Beijing this January, clearly with some hope that local consumers will see the significance.

Meanwhile, at the other end of many people's budgets, the luxury watch brand Piaget has produced the Altiplano Chinese Zodiac Snake watch, which features an enamel dial with a snake motif.

Coming in two styles, the exclusive timepieces are housed in a round case, crafted from 18-karat white gold and set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds arranged around the narrow bezel. Only 38 pieces of each design are going on sale.

But if you're neither a sports fan nor fashionista, you can stick to something a little more traditional.

The People's Bank of China has issued 15 commemorative coins - eight in gold and seven in silver - each designed with snake patterns.

China Post, too, has just issued stamps for the Year of the Snake within its shengxiao, or Chinese zodiac, collection.

The stamps are designed by Wu Guanying, a professor in Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University. He created an image of a snake with a tail in the shape of lingzhi, or Ganoderma lucidum, a mushroom representing good luck and fortune in Chinese culture.

A whole set of snake-themed stamps cost just 24 yuan ($3.86), and are on sale now - some experts are already reporting that prices have soared to 540 yuan a set among stamp collectors.