The Mandarin Gown

I remember watching a Wong Kar Wai's movie, In the Mood of Love, starring Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung and thinking how elegant the female lead looked in her sleek cheongsam. Cheongsam, the body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for women is also known in Chinese as the qípáo and in English as the mandarin gown. Originally, the cheongsam was wide and loose, covering most of the woman's body, revealing only the head, hands, and the tips of the toes. During the Qing Dynasty, Manchu women typically wore a one-piece dress that came to be known as the qípáo.The law then required all Han Chinese to wear a queue and dress in Manchurian qipao instead of traditional Han Chinese clothing. The qipao thus, became the adopted clothing of the Chinese. It was eventually tailored to suit the preferences of the population. The modern stylish tight-fitting cheongsam was created in the 1920s in Shanghai and was made fashionable by socialites and upperclass. When the 1949 Communist Revolution ended, Shanghainese emigrants and refugees brought the cheongsam and other fashions in Shanghai to Hong Kong. In the Mood of Love was set in the 60s, the time when I suppose, the cheongsam was in vogue there.



A 1930s Shanghai advertisement depicting Chinese women in Cheongsam...


Some modern cheongsam...




Comments

Liudmila said…
I think, the modern fashion is much more interesting. I like to SEE the beauty instead to cover it with a sack.
footiam said…
I like both old and modern fashion but I do think fashion from yesterday requires a lot of cloth. The new one are simpler and some don't need so much cloth.

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