Veteran Asia-Pacific watchers were deprived of a beloved tradition in Honolulu this past weekend when U.S. President Barack Obama decreed that attendees at the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit wouldn't be required to wear aloha shirts for the Summit's main photo op.
Since 1994, when Indonesia's President Suharto provided batik shirts for the members to wear for the official photograph, APEC host nations have outfitted representatives in questionable national dress that has run the gamut from elegant (silk shirts) to inexplicable (canvas raincoats).
Over the years, the APEC summit was routinely lampooned for its annual show of world leaders in "funny shirts," but last year's Japanese hosts nixed the tradition. Rather than outfit the participants in kimonos or some other traditional costume, the Japanese instructed delegates to wear regular business attire.
Perhaps mindful of Japan's lead, Obama was quoted in the Washington Post today as saying, "I had looked at pictures of some of the previous APEC meetings and some of the garb that had appeared previously, and I thought this may be a tradition that we might want to break."
The result of Obama's decision can be seen in the photo above — world leaders in front of palm trees, posing incongruously in sober navy suits. In recognition of what's been lost, Asia Blog hereby proudly presents some of the great moments in APEC fashion history. Click through the slide show, below, for highlights of summits past: