While most wedding gowns are made of silk, satin and lace, a woman in north-west China has impressed millions by creating a stunning dress with the least expected materials.
Tan Lili, 28, produced the entire gown – completed with a bridal hat and a lengthy dress train – with 40 discarded cement bags after using the contents to renovate her house in a village in Longnan city.
The talented woman is a farmer and has never attended design school. She said she made the dress ‘on a whim’ on a rainy day.
Tan dropped out of middle school at the age of 18 to start working in the farm lands after her father died of cancer four years earlier.
She married her husband, Yang Mingfei, in 2012 and had a son together. The pair had been upgrading their home recently and acquired the bags of concrete.
It was pouring last Wednesday and Tan couldn’t go down to the fields. Bored, she was inspired by the cement bags lying near her home and decided to transform them into a gown like the ones she saw in magazines.
Pictures and video footage shows a proud Tan walking out in the charming woven dress featuring an open back design, which she created in three hours.
She uploaded a clip of her dress on social media, where it quickly went viral with more than four million views, according to local media reports.
‘I did not expect the overwhelming response online, it’s such a nice surprise,’ Tan told video news site Pear Video.
Using nothing but her imagination and a pair of skilled hands, Tan has also created beautiful dresses with other unusual materials, including weeds, grass, flowers and newspapers.
‘I could probably get more likes and views online if I were prettier,’ she told reporters.
But to many net users, she is ‘the prettiest bride they have ever seen’.
Moved by her down-to-earth attitude, net users applauded her creativity, calling her the ‘Cement Queen’ and ‘Cement Empress Wu’ – referring her as the first and only Chinese female monarch, Wu Zetian.
‘The design of the shoulder pads are amazing,’ one commented. ‘This is really impressive.’
‘Very creative and environmentally friendly at the same time!’ another said.
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