Fashion designers are remodeling the traditional Mao suit in the hope that it will once again become a popular item of clothing.
The gray "Zhongshan", or Mao suit, that President Hu Jintao wore when he stood on the rostrum in Tian'anmen Square for the 60th anniversary celebration of New China, caused a stir both at home and abroad.
Notting Hill's Mao suits present a new look of the old attire.
It had a Western-style slim cut, but all the suit's characteristic elements, including pockets, buttons and color.
"President Hu's suit was a redesigned one," says Xia Hua, chairperson of Eve Enterprise Group, which was tasked with making Hu's clothes for the ceremony.
Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), first president of the Republic of China, introduced the Zhongshan suit.
Every button and pocket had a political implication, including his ideas of freedom, equality, and the "Three Principles of the People".
It dominated local menswear for six decades - from 1920 to 1980 - during which time Western media portrayed China as a "gray society" as all the men wore them and looked the same.
Chairman Mao Zedong popularized it and this is why it is known in the West as the "Mao suit".
After 1980, when Western suits were introduced, it lost its popularity because of its old-fashioned look and political connotations.
With reform and opening up in 1979, foreign fashions began to enter the Chinese market. Faced with more choices, people dressed more individualistically.
The gray or blue color bored young people, and the four pockets were too complicated.
When President Hu wore his Mao suit it signaled its rejuvenation and designers busied themselves creating new patterns for the new millennium. The modern Mao suit is an expression of one's personality.
"The modern Mao suit will become very popular for business occasions, as it looks formal and represents China," Xia from Eve Enterprise Group says.
"It first made an appearance when Western culture was brought into China in 1920. The Mao suit was a fusion of fashion and culture. It had the outline of a Western suit, but had Chinese elements," says Liu Yuanfeng, dean of Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT).
"And current times are also a meeting of Chinese and Western cultures. Mao suits, inheriting both, will certainly become popular again," Liu says.
There are redesigned Mao suits on the market now that have a casual look. Kevin Kelly, Eve and Notting Hill are three menswear brands under Xia's company that have produced new styles that are available in Beijing and Shanghai.
"We have adopted the traditional elements of two-line buttons, standing collars and the colors. To cater to young customers, we have added some modern touches too," Xia says.
The modern Mao suit has shiny copper buttons instead of gray plastic ones, and is slim-cut. The four pockets have been cut out. The suits are made from synthetic fibers and silk rather than just cotton. It can also be embroidered and accessorized with scarves, leather bags and boots.
And it's not just men who wear Mao suits, women want them as well. BIFT held a Mao suit show at China Fashion Week in November, at which 50 suits of different styles were showcased, most of which were women's outfits that paired well with shirts and short skirts.
They came embellished with feather and floral patterns, and in rich silver and gold tones.
BIFT spokesman Liu Jiao says the most important elements of Mao suits are short and straight standing collars, and square pockets.
"These designs can deliver a powerful feeling, and modern women like to impress men with a tough look," Liu says.
"Straight lines and simple colors show modern Chinese women's positive attitude toward life," adds the dean, who was also a designer at the show.
Lian Fengying has been making Mao suits for almost 30 years, and is making more money than ever before.
She used to work for Hongdu Fashion Company, which designs and makes suits for Chinese leaders, but started her own tailoring shop in 2006.
She charges 2,000 to 10,000 yuan ($293-1,465) per Mao suit, depending on the material, and makes more than 20,000 yuan per month.
She says Mao suits are more popular than ever and she has three clients this month, adding they will wear "high-end tailored Mao suits at formal occasions".
Time Out Beijing fashion editor Shi Zhiqiang believes that Dior and Armani have taken elements from Mao suits. He says Ermenegildo Zegna jackets feature wider shoulders and smaller collars that are typical of the Mao suit.
BIFT dean Liu believes the nation's rapid economic growth calls for a cultural symbol. Mao suits fit the bill because they have a long and colorful history.
"Its rejuvenation is a combination of modern style and traditional culture. The new designs abandon political implications, which are not suitable for this age, but keep the spirit of the Mao suit: elegance, knowledge, and respect of one's culture and nation," Liu says.