A clothing store named Shanghai Hongxiang recently caught media attention in New York. What’s special about the store is that it takes custom orders to make Mandarin dresses, also known as cheongsam or qipao.
Mr. Zhu, the master tailor of Shanghai Hongxiang, has more than 30 years of Mandarin dress making experience since he was 18.
“To make a classic Mandarin dress, it requires measuring dozens of the body parts,” said Mr. Zhu. “When we make the dress, we must hand-sew the key areas needle by needle to ensure the right shape and a perfect fit.”
Hongxiang offers more than 300 types of fabrics for customers to choose. The way Mandarin dresses are custom made here is reminiscent of the first Hongxiang store, established in Shanghai in 1917, named after its owner. The owner’s family name was Jin. Hongxiang was his given name.
Mr. Jin was the first tailor to apply the silhouettes of Western dresses to Mandarin dresses, so Hongxiang quickly attracted many fashion lovers. Later, in 1935, Hongxiang earned national fame by custom-making the movie star Hu Diay’s wedding gown. Since Hu Diay means “butterfly” in Chinese, Mr. Jin embroidered 100 butterflies onto her wedding gown. That caused a sensation.
It’s a pity that we cannot see the embroidered butterflies in the black-and-white wedding picture. However, if you like butterflies, here are two Mandarin dresses with beautiful butterfly prints.
Today the old Hongxiang still enjoys great popularity in Shanghai while the new Hongxiang is alluring American customers in New York. For a store like Hongxiang to survive and thrive in America’s fashion capital, it’s definitely no coincidence. It means there is an increasing demand for custom-made Mandarin dresses in New York.
As a matter of fact, Mandarin dresses are more and more popular with women of all races worldwide, since numerous Hollywood stars such as Nicole Kidman and Emma Watson have come out in stunning Mandarin dresses. However, Mandarin dresses require detailed tailoring. If you covet the graceful looks and figure flattering cuts of Mandarin dresses, a ready made Mandarin dress from mass production will disappoint you. Only an exclusively tailored Mandarin dress can deliver your dreams.
What if you don’t live in Shanghai or New York? Fortunately, there are on-line stores that let you submit your measurements and custom make Mandarin dresses for you. Elegente.com is the most renowned one of them.
Elegente.com offers more than 1,000 styles and fabric choices. No matter what your preferences are, you should be able to find something you like among Elegente dresses.
Below are some red Mandarin dresses with gold patterns which somewhat resemble the one from Shanghai Hongxiang in New York and can work for a Chinese-style wedding reception or formal Chinese New Year’s celebrations.