Whatever patterns it is designed with, when closely wrapping woman’s body, Qipao completes its duty of making its wearer charming and emits fascinating and exceptional fragrance!
If Qipao beauties are the most enchanting sights, then Qipao tailors are the most modest talent scouts behind those sights. Every woman should own a custom-tailored Qipao. Let’s check some boutique Qipao custom-tailoring stores in Shanghai!
Shanghai’s South Bund enjoys a widespread reputation for custom-tailoring clothes. Fenghexiang is located there.
Fenghexiang has been the leading Qipao store in Shanghai since over 10 years ago. They used to custom-tailor the Chinese-style dresses for the 2001 APEC Meeting in Shanghai. The chief tailors of the store have already engaged in manually tailoring Qipaos for over forty years. They make a prototype for every Qipao from fabric, workmanship to cut, and tailor Qipao according to every customer’s figure. Because of extremely high cost-effectiveness, you can always see blondes in the store who are attracted by its reputation.
Address: No. 192, 1st Floor,399 Lujiabang Rd., Shanghai South Bund Soft-Spinning Material Market. The market’s gate is located on the Nancang Street.
Ligulong is a famous high-end Qipao custom-tailoring store in Shanghai.Its prosperity and exquisite manual stitches show another beauty of Qipao.
Main features: the Qipaos can be completely opened; retro manual Chinese buttons are closely arranged; the long colourful trims fully wrap the whole Qipao from neckline to hemline. With these features, the Qipaos look exquisite ,no matter how you look at it.
Address:205 Changle Rd.
Hanyi has been operated for some years. It’s a pity that Mr.Chu,who is a founding master of Hanyi and now 90 years old, is no longer running the store himself. Fortunately, the Qipaos of the store are still so beautiful. There are many patterns and fabrics for your option. Qipaos are mainly designed with mock zipper-style placket. Except for a little old-fashioned patterns, the Qipaos are popular among older females on the whole. The prices are a little high.
Address:221 Changle Rd.
It is a store that custom-tailors traditional and improved Qipaos. The boss, also a designer, usually incorporates fashion elements into Qipaos by referring to inspirations of foreign fashion designers, letting traditional Qipaos show new vitality. So, what the whole store represents is a beauty of improvement, though their products are lack of the charm of traditional Qipao !
Address:72 Maoming South Rd.
For many overseas Chinese, Ordering a custom-tailored Qipao online might be the best choice. Except that tailors aren’t able to take measurements for you, other processes are the same as those done when you order Qipaos in the store. As the largest online custom-tailoring Qipaos brand, ELEGENTE.com provides service for taking measurements online. You can obtain your own body data in only 10 minutes. Then 15 days later, you’ll receive your own Qipao sent by international express. You can have a try.
In Chinese costume dramas, we always see those beauties wearing delicate ornaments, without knowing their names. Today let me illustrate the Chinese ancient hair ornaments.
Ji primitive hairpin
Ji dates back to Neolithic Age. It was used for securing bun or hat as well as for meeting some needs of etiquette.
The materials for making Ji included bone, jade, pottery, clamshell, and etc. And Ji was even made of copper in the Shang dynasty. It was usually in the shape of cone, “T” or cylinder and etc. Some of Ji were inlaid with bone beads while some were engraved with decorative patterns.
In the Zhou Dynasty, people regardless of gender all used Ji. The Ji used by males for securing hat is called Henji(transverse Ji).
Zan-hairpin evolving from Ji and having a single pin
Zan was used for securing bun or acted as an ornament for bun. Zan usually came with a single pin. In addition to be an ornament, Zan was also regarded as a token of love as a poet wrote, “at dusk the cloud in Autumn is dark. The river is limpid and deep. What can be used for communications? It’s the Zan of turtle shell engraved with lotus.”
Zan evolved from Ji. The head of Zan is usually decorated with patterns like birds, beasts, flowers, plants, insects and fish, and inlaid with gold, silver, jade, pearl, gem and etc..
Chai-hairpin with double or multiple pins
Chai is an ornament made collectively with pearl, jade, gold and silver in the shape of flower or other pattern. Chai has double or multiple pins which are pinned into bun for securing it. In ancient China, females were also called “Qun Chai(dress chai)” or “Jin Chai(gold chai)”. The difference between Zan and Chai lies in pin’s number. Zan has a single pin while Chai has double or multiple pins.
Generally in the shape of Chinese character “一”，Bianfang is a special large-sized hairpin used when Manchu women made the banner hairstyle. Some Bianfang ornaments used for making “Dalachi hairstyle” in the court of the late Qing Dynasty are as long as two cuns(1 cun= 1 / 3 decimetre). Some of jade Bianfang ornaments in Qing Imperial Palace are virid like water while some are inlaid with auspicious patterns such as gold, silver, Chinese character “寿” meaning longevity, flower bunch and bats. This Bianfang made of precious jade is usually worn by penetrating the bun transversely pinned with flat Zan. The strong hue contrast between emerald jade and black hair can form a special beauty.
Comb and Bi
Comb and Bi are collectively referred to as Zhi which is one of eight Chinese ancient hair ornaments. “Zhi(comb) is the general name for comb and double-edged fine-toothed comb”, said Xu Shen from the Han Dynasty in his work Interpretation of Chinese Characters. The Interpretation . Mu Radical wrote, “Comb is used for arranging hair”, and “Zhi(comb) is the general name for comb and Bi(double-edged fine-toothed comb)”. Duan Yucai noted, “The sparse-toothed one is comb while the fine-toothed one is Bi”. “white like snow and smooth like moss, accompanying comb and mirror, the white Bi is used for whisking off dirt.”,wrote Louyin from the Tang Dynasty in his poem White Bi. Taogu from the Northern Song Dynasty wrote in his essay collection Qing Yi Lu, “Once upon a time, there was a rich juvenile sensualist called Cui Yuqing in Luoyang who had people make a coloful ivory comb for a prostitute called Yurunzi, which cost him a large amount of money.” Wearing hair long prevailed in ancient times. Comb and Bi are necessities for combing hair every day. Comb with sparse teeth is used for combing hair; Bi with fine teeth is used for getting rid of hair’s dirt so that hair can be kept clean without lice, making people radiant. In addition to be used as hair ornament, comb and Bi can also stimulate scalp neuron, thus enhance metabolism and prolong life,
It’s also called “花胜 Huasheng” meaning floral hair ornament. It’s a kind of floral ornament for women in ancient times. “The ‘华’ of ‘华胜’ means being shaped like flowers or grasses; ‘胜’ means having a beautiful appearance. One who wears it will look beautiful.It’s worn in the hair above the middle of forehead as an ornament” The Book of Han · Biography of Sima Xiangru Vol. 2 said, “She lives in a cave, wearing Huasheng in her snow-white hair.”Yan Shigu from the Tang Dynasty noted,” ‘胜’ is referred to as women’s ornament; it’s known as Huasheng in the Han Dynasty.” “On the Human Day(7th day of the 1st lunar month)……Women make Huasheng ornaments to give as gifts while scholars climb to an elevation for composing poems.”, wrote Zong Lin from Kingdom Of Liang of the Southern Dynasties in his Record of Festival Customs in the Jingchu District.
Huasheng means gorgeous hair ornament. The passages in the Journey to the West writing about what the Queen of Heaven looks like are as follows: She wears a huasheng in her hair and decorative patterns in the shape of tiger. Two immortals including a female and a male are waiting upon her on her left and right respectively. The numerous jewellery-decorated hoods add radiance and beauty to each other. The feather fans held by fairy maidens covered the courtyard. Under the balustrade are the trees with white halos, forming a firm grove. The jade-like trunks are nearly 3 kilometres in height, with their dark green branches and leaves growing in the sky. Without wind, the trees can also make the fantastic melody which is usually solemnly played when a salute is made. Shenzhou is in the southeast of Kunlun, so the Chinese dictionary Er Ya said, “it’s exactly under the nose of Queen of Heaven.” It also said, “The Queen of Heaven is wearing Huasheng in her fluffy hair. The one who has protruding teeth and is good at fluting, is an envoy of Queen of Heaven. The white tiger goddess in the west isn’t the real Queen of Heaven.”
It’s an ornament name. It’s a small hairpin usually pinned into hair on the temples. Ma Gao from the Five Dynasties wrote in his Commentaries on Antiquity and Today of China·Hood Duozi and Fan, “Hood has appeared since the period reined by the first Emperor of Qin. When serving the emperor, the concubines were required to wear lotus-like hood in summer made of bluish green silk, to pin colorful pedant Duozi, to drape light yellow silk clothes over shoulders, to hold a fan made of mica bamboo and to wear shoes decorated with phoenix on the toe cap.” Fang Yizhi from the Qing Dynasty wrote in his Tongya · Clothing, “Duozi is a kind of ornament.” “Hood originated from the period reined by the first Emperor of Qin, and the lotus-like hood and colorful pedant Duozi concubines are wearing, are all hair ornaments”, said the Commentaries on Antiquity and Today.
Mo’e-cloth hair ornament
Mo’e is also called forehead band, head band, hair band, brow band and head wrapper. It’s a cloth ornament bounden on the forehead, generally decorated with embroidery or jewellery. Mo’e was invented by the northern minorities originally for warding off the cold. The Sequel to Book of Han · Record of Vehicle and Clothing noted what Huguang said, “It’s very cold in the north, so people there warm forehead by the fur band, attached to hat and evolving into an ornament. This is the origin of Mo’e.” It’s also called “Motou” meaning the cloth bounden on the forehead. “wearing red Mo’e”, said the New Book of Tang · Biography of Lou Shide. “The raw silk fabric used for covering forehead, is today’s Mo’e.”, said the book Xi Shang Fu Tan. As for Song defenders’ clothing, instructors wore black gauze cap and red Mo’e, while archery checkers wore black gauze cap with two long bands behind and purple Mo’e. The Mo’es wrapped around head is made of red or purple silk fabric.
Buyao- hairpin dangling when wearer walks
It’s a kind of hair ornament for women in ancient times. It is because this hairpin dangles with wearer’s step that it is called Buyao. It’s generally made of gold in the shape of dragon or phoenix and etc., decorated with jewellery. After the Six Dynasties, its pattern had been diversified with birds, beasts, flowers ,branches and so on, sparkling and dazzling. It was pinned in the hair together with other hairpins. The famous Chinese book Glossary . Interpretations of Ornaments said, “Buyao, decorated with drooping beads, dangles when its wearer walks.” The Book of the Later Han. Vehicle and Clothing Vol. 2 said, “Buyao is designed with one peacock and nine flowers, with its pedestal made of gold and white beads strung as interlaced ornament.” The Chinese scholar Wang Xianqian quoted Chen Xiangdao in his Collected Annotations as saying, “Shaped into a golden phoenix and decorated with colorful drooping jade, with pedestal in the bottom and pin in the front, the Buyao in the Han Dynasty dangles when its wearer walks.” The poet Bai Juyi from Tang Dynasty wrote in his poem Everlasting Regret, “Thick hair, beautiful countenance and golden dangling Buyao.” The writer Xie Yi from the Northern Song wrote in his poem Die Lian Hua, “The hair-securing Buyao is made of sapphire. Bees are attracted to flying among its petals. ”
The Book of Han · Biography of Jiangchong said, “Jiangchong is wearing thin silk clothes with curving parts drooping and interlacing in the rear, wearing silk Buyao hood and tying Feihe’s ribbons.” The Book of Jin · Record of Murong Wei said, “People generally wore Buyao hood in the Kingdoms of Yan and Dai.” Mo Huba liked hood at first sight and then bound up his hair and wore the hood which was called Buyao by his bribes. Finally the surname Murong was derived from Buyao. ”
Jinguo is a kind of ornament in ancient times. It’s as broad as a hat and conspicuous with its towering height. Jinguo is made by wrapping around wire or thin bamboo or wood chips which is(are) woven into various patterns, with a long colorful cloth . This kind of head ornament is worn on head, covering the forehead, surrounding the hair, with its drooping bands on both sides knotted on the nape. It is neither a hairstyle nor a hood. At any time, it can be taken off (like taking off a hat ) and put on(just by tying the bands on both sides.) In the Pre-Qin period, both males and females wore Jinguo as an ornament. Not until Han Dynasty was it exclusively used by women.
Qipao is one of the symbols of the traditional Chinese culture. As a long lasting fashion element, Qipao always surprises people, leading an unexpected fashion trend. Stars, in particular, can give a full display of its grace. When some beautiful stars appear in Qipao, they catch people’s eyes immediately.
#1. Maggie Cheung – The Most Beautiful Woman in Qipao
Maggie Cheung does not grow old with time. On the contrary, she becomes brighter as time goes by, which especially showed in her incomparable acting in Qipao. If we have a look at all her films, we may find that she is nearly qualified in taking the post of the “spokeswoman” of Qipao. The flower-patterned dazzling Qipao and the classic hair style let out her special charm, lingering in people’s mind.
#2. Gong Li – displaying the unique charm of icy nobleness
With a face of oriental charm, Gong Li is always surrounded by an air of nobleness, making people feel admirable. The extraordinary design on the chest has made her breast line even more impressive. The shell fabric employs crochet and embroidery – decent and appropriate; Qipao like this must have added more glamour to Gong Li.
#3. Tang Wei – Extraordinary in Character
There are countless stars prettier than Tang Wei, however, she is the most unique one among them. She has a great power in her body and gives life to every sharp character she has played. In Qipao, she perfectly displays Chinese female’s tenderness as well as staunchness. It is no wonder that she has gained much popularity abroad and a worldwide reputation.
#4.Coco Lee – displaying alluring charm in modified Qipao
#5, Chen Hao – A Northern Girl with a Southern Girl’s Temperament
Although Chen Hao is a northern girl, she has the tenderness of a southern girl. When appearing in a TV play, with a noble texture fur, Chen Hao looks absolutely charming and sexy in a classic Qipao embroidered with large peonies, giving out an atmosphere of the old Shanghai.
#6. Cecilia Cheung – the Fashion Icon
As a fashion icon, Cecilia Cheung has always been leading the fashion trend. She seldom appears in ancient costumes. But just because of this, when she wore Qipao playing the role of Zhou Xuan, she amazed people by her beauty. Also, the dark-colored classic Qipao reflecting the atmosphere of the old Shanghai adds glamour of mystery to her. One can hardly forget the image of her wearing Qipao.
#7. Carina Lau – Shining in the Darkness
Carina Lau is perfect at acting. Although she is not a big hit, her unique charm still attracts countless people. The modified Qipao she wears fully sets off her appealing legs. Being designed so extraordinary, the Qipao is just like a graceful evening dress. Though in black, Carina Lau still shines brilliantly.
#8. Sophie Su – Professional in Wearing Qipao
Sophie Su has always appeared in the TV plays wearing a modified Qipao. Especially in Qing Mang, she plays as a movie star so that there are more chances for her to wear Qipao. The fresh and simple design of the Qipao highlights Sophie’s tenderness. Perhaps because she has played in Qipao very often, she can perfectly display the outer and inner beauty of Qipao.
#9. Gigi Lai – Pretty and Attractive like Peach Blossom
In Hong Kong entertainment field, Gigi Lai is one of the stars who can display the lingering charm. Her irresistible charm grows with time, attracting people to approach her. A well-shaped figure plus a classic rose red Qipao, together with a fox fur shawl, contribute to Gigi Lai’s elegance and dignity, from which gorgeousness comes out naturally.
#10. Xiao Ran Li – Fresh and Simple as a Flower
Xiao Ran Li is an agreeable girl. Her reserved and soft smiles have conquered numerous men. By wearing Qipao in a TV play, she creates a vivid character of a young talented lady from an eminent family. Intellectuality and tenderness are parts of her. Although she is never in the lime light, she does gain an exceptional reputation of herself.
In movies, the Qipao is the most suitable symbol expressing the cultural deposits of women in 1930s and 1940s. There are a group of women, with their neck holding high, their back gracefully curved and their waist being slender, everybody says they are born for Qipao. Among them, Maggie Cheung, through the role of In the Mood for Love, has given life to Qipao; Tang Wei, in Lost Caution, and Ni Ni, in The Flowers of War, both played in Qipao, showing the charm of traditional Chinese women…
The Qipao is an important part of Chinese clothing. 1930s and 1940s were the golden ages of Qipao. Eileen Chang can be called The Lady of Qipao, her novels never without the elements of the Qipao. In movies, the Qipao is the most suitable symbol expressing the cultural deposits of women in 1930s and 1940s. There are a group of women, with their neck holding high, their back gracefully curved and their waist being slender, everybody says they are born for Qipao. Among them, Maggie Cheung, through the role of In the Mood for Love, has given life to Qipao; Tang Wei, in Lost Caution, and Ni Ni, in The Flowers of War, both played in Qipao, showing the charm of traditional Chinese women.
In the movie of In the Mood for Love, Maggie Cheung’s stripe Qipao has demonstrated a special charm of otherworldly refinement, with the Qipao free of showy flowers. The plain and simple stripes can best make women’s elegance stand out.
The lake blue etched-out velvet Qipao Tang Wei wears in Lost Caution is partly hidden and partly visible, most beautifully contributing to a sexy appeal. The skin is vaguely exposed under the calm and restraining blue. Nakedness is not sexy; the beauty between hiding and bareness is.
Of Gong Li’s Qipao, there is also a transparent design on the chest and back, giving out a sexy charm. The Qipao is decorated with several diamonds, making the dull black yarn look smart. What’s more, the curve design on the chest is even amazing.
Sun Li’s disposition is perfect for such a simple and graceful Qipao. The classic match of black and white as well as the snatch stripes makes the Qipao quite modern. The brooch of the same color has added more attraction.
In The Message, Zhou Xun wears Qipao of Gambled Guangdong gauze. Her fine elegance and delicate make-up won’t appear old.
Making Ni Ni enchanting and sexy, the Qipao which she wears in The Flowers of War suits the character perfectly.
He was called the last Qipao tailor in Hongkong, where Qipao tailors decreased in population gradually from more than 20, 000 to 500 and he was the youngest. In Hong Kong where modern fashion prevailed, he insisted his craftsmanship of 1950s. Quietly, he engaged himself in his craftsmanship but Qipao made by him dangled earrings in movies. He once said that his craftsmanship, which was like the setting sun, may disappear after a period.
He is An-Qing Liu, aged 65 and having tailoring Qipao for fifty years.
Her studio is located in an old building in the middle ring, covering an area of 20 square meters, where is laying the workbench, wooden cabinet, cloth and a row of Qipao kept for their wearers. Master Liu, with grey hairs, seats himself beside the sewing machine and pulls the thread by the left hand, turning back and saying in native Beijing dialect, “Is my store like that in 1980s?”
An-Qing Liu was only 13 years old when he came to Hong Kong from Jiangsu. His uncle, together with his aunt, led him to his master and he signed his name on a red paper to become an apprentice. “Beginning from the basic teasing needle, I sat before the workbench for the whole day and had no time to take a rest even when my fingers fell asleep.” “At eleven o’clock on evenings when the master left, I would sleep on the workbench. When I was sick, my master would give me one dime of silver coin to buy one pellet of Saridon. While the happiest thing every year was to get off work earlier and watch movies in the second day after the Spring Festival.”
At the age of 17 when his apprenticeship came to the end, An-Qing Liu became the master in the store. At that time, there were several renowned dressmaking firms in Hong Kong with high-end clients. The dress tailors needed to drop in to measure their bodies. “Except the host and hostess, we need as well to make the long gown for chef.” Remembered by master Liu, “It’s almost like that described in novels of Eileen Cheung.” How about the social stature of the dressmaking master at that time? “We were not called the master, but the tailor!”
“At that time, there were more than 2000 dressmaking masters in Hong Kong. That was the best age of Qipao market.” There were many migrants at that time in Hong Kong and most craftsmen were from Jiangsu or Zhejiang province. It’s said by Liu’s master that the dressmaking master from Shanghai laid emphasis on the fine workmanship and preciseness. “They would not be satisfied with even average quality.” master Liu patted his cloth and said, “At that time, people must have a haircut before attending a banquet and wear the wavy hair style. With the best western suit or Qipao, one would show its essence and manner.” Up to now, master Liu would wear white shirt, black jacket and the western style pant, with hairs parted on the right and neat fingernails. Wearing thimble on the third finger, master Liu made his cloth customized and laundered to be very straight. “Everyone wears the same style and they have no stress on their uniqueness.”
“Mrs. Kuang, welcome to our store. Please let me measure your body.” In 1981, master Liu began to open his own store. It’s never a difficult job for clients to go to master Liu’s store for they were usually introduced by friends who were as well the clients of master Liu. He used to greet clients with the traditional way, such as Mrs. or Miss. When the second daughter of Mrs. Kuang got married, master Liu made wedding outfits for her whole families.
When the client needed to try on, master Liu would lay out his tools. The porcelain bowl, containing pastes, has faded away in color and master Liu made the pastes every day by himself. “It’s sent by the families of my master after his death. It has been more than sixty years old. The plasma cutter, when it’s given to me, bent like the crescent moon. I spent half day filing it to be flat.” The sewing machine with the brand of Butterfly has been more than 40 years as well. Living long in Hong Kong, masters from Shanghai have become Hong Kong masters. “Now masters from Shanghai combine the traditional Chinese styles with western fashion, while Hong Kong masters become the representative of the traditional Chinese craftsmanship.”
“This suit fits you well, Miss Kuang, and remember to wear the underwear on the wedding day.” The traditional Qipao, in the eye of master Liu, has strict requirement in measurement. Every place shall be counted by the inch. The place with proud flesh shall be loose and the one with short legs shall wear Qipao with waist line moving up. Should the standard not be reached, the strict master would suggest wearing belt on the waist. Facial form, length of neck and the personal air shall also be taken into account in making Qipao, but master Liu never offer to introduce the lining or style because he believed that the dress one liked was the best.
Many regular customers of master Liu usually have their wedding dress and the wedding outfit worn when their sons or daughters get married made by him. “Customers may come here to chat with me when they are free. In festivals, they may send me the snake butters or red paper containing money as a gift.” Master Liu has his satisfactory work that he is ready to show his visitors, “Look at the rolloff. It’s made of the Suzhou embroider left by the madam of that family. It’s quite difficult to find such senior lining now. Take a look at the head of the Ruyi pattern. I have spent two weeks making such dress.”
The finished Qipao will be packed with semitransparent wax paper in two layers and into the canton, which will be bound with two red lines for customers to carry. “Much attention shall be paid to the lining. Dirt shall be dry cleaned. There is a good dry cleaner and I will give you the address.”
Most linings of An-Qing Liu are imported. “Silk from Italy is the best and the chiffon and lace shall be imported from France.” With fine lining and valuable craftsmanship, an ordinary banquet Qipao, as worthy as eight or nine thousand yuan, still witnesses its buyers in an endless stream.
“Tens of years ago, I opened a store down the street. One day, William Chang, the art director of Hong Kong movies and the fashion designer, came to buy lining in my store and took a fancy to my craftsmanship at one blow.” Since then, master Liu got tied with movies. “Qipao dresses worn by Zhang Ziyi in the movie, 2046, Wei Tang in the Story of Laoyi directed by Ang Lee, Hsu Chi in Blood Brothers and those appearing in the Grand Master starred by Karwai Wong were made by me. I still made one suit of Qipao for Maggie Cheung in the Blossom Age.” “Half year ago, an acquaintance introduced Yeli, the wife of Yao Ming, to my store. I, as directed, went to visit Yao Ming. I think his height costs too much cloth.”
“I am a famous man but I recognize that my craftsmanship is traditional. The dress of 1950s keeps its essence still. The one who like the modern shall go to Shanghai but I like the most oriental feeling.” There are fewer with the same trade as master Liu living in the world. Most of them died or dropped out from the field. Stores as master Liu’s are fewer and fewer. Master Liu supported his store only by his own. Working eight hours a day and six days a week, master Liu made ten suits of dress at most in a month. “After the Mid-autumn Day, I will become quite busy and will not receive new business since November. The New Year dress has to be ordered before a year.
How about receiving an apprentice? Master Liu shook his head and said, “This trade needs great efforts and patience. I am afraid that youngsters of today will not suffer such pains. As you see, I spend three days on the rolloff, but today’s youngsters may resort to their mum for unthreading. How can they make such job requiring fine workmanship?” Master Liu sighed that his own children did not learn such craftsmanship. “How can the Qipao tailor with fingers taking needles compare with the designer using computer?”
As master Liu said, there was no resolution that the craftsmanship disappeared. But he still held a little hope that should the government or the college hold the training project and invite some masters to teach lessons, it would be possible to find one proper man to inherit such craftsmanship.
Hearing that foreign customers could order the customized Qipao from Beijing Qipao store online at ELEGENTE.COM, master Liu thought it was creative and appreciated their insist of traditional Qipao craftsmanship. Master Liu said that they still insisted the traditional Beijing craftsmanship in making Qipao, such as the traditional binding and swabbing. Compared with needle-tailoring Qipao, which may cost one to three months, it would need shorter time by sew-tailoring, which may cost one to three weeks. What’s more, sew-tailoring made the price of Qipao lower than before and guaranteed the super quality. While insisting the traditional craftsmanship, the Qipao tailor could keep pace with the times and spread the influence of Qipao through many channels. That’s the suggestion given by master Liu to his colleague. In addition, master Liu, aged 65 years old, still insisted his most traditional and exquisite Qipao craftsmanship.
Eileen Chang, born in 1940s, aroused so many disputes on her life and talents. However, Eileen Chang was a lady who can really understand Qipao. She had good knowledge of the development process of Qipao in recent and modern Chinese history and the color collocation of Qipao, as well as the inner goodness of Qipao. When she was in vogue in the literary field, her garment aroused popular attention in the society as well.
Eileen Cheung was said to love wearing weird dress and showing around. She loved wearing dress of late Qing dynasty, which may be stored at the very bottom of wardrobes by common people, and classical western hair style, fearlessly showing around. There are several anecdotes known by us all:
To publish her book, the Legend, she went to the printing house to revise the draft sample and all staff of the printing house would stop their work and look at her dress in surprise. She went to visit her friend, Suzie, and the whole alley would be astounded. She may be followed by a crowd of children, who were chasing after her and screaming. When she attended the wedding of her friend, she went to send her congratulations in an embroidered jacket trouser of Qing style designed by her. Then the attentions of all participants were focused on her.
She recomposed Love in a Fallen City, a novel, into the drama and turned to Kling for help in performance. Kling invited Jian-Yun Zhou, the renowned troupe host, one of the three giants in Zhanqian Stars Company and loving making friends widely, to meet with Eileen. The sociable Zhou felt restrained as soon as seeing Eileen with awesome makeup. So what’s the dress of Eileen Cheung like? As introduced by Kling, she wore a suite of ancient knee-lined jacket, with super wide sleeves and brightly pinky silk and wide black satin selvages. There was a stretch of cloud, maybe Ruyi, on the right front. The long gown with short sleeves covered the Qipao. The writer’s picture attached in Rumors was in this style.
Eileen Cheung carried out her acclamation through making dress. When studying in Hongkong, she got several scholarships in a row and saved some to buy linings to design dress by her own. This dress, her little brother once saw, was a suite of cloth Qipao with short collar and brightly red base. The dress was printed with several blue and white blossoms, with no cottons on both edges and a knot below the collar. The sleeve only stretched to the shoulder and the total length of the body only reached knees. When Zhang Zijing asked her if it’s the latest style in Hongkong, Eileen showed a smile and said, “I’m afraid it’s not very special.”
One time, she went back from Hong Kong with a length of Cantonese homespun. The cloth with harsh pinky rose was printed with pinky flowers. In the pattern, the verdant leaves were printed on the dark blue or green grassland. The dress in this pattern was usually worn by countryside babies. She made it her Qipao in Shanghai and felt very good. She said that it seemed to wear the famous paintings of museum to show around and the wearer felt walking on air. She did not care others’ sense in looking at such style.
In Shanghai, she designed lots of kinds of dress styles by her own. Yanying, one of her friends, painted as well as her and was percipient in design. Both of them may design a style and invited a tailor to make the dress. Eileen’s great grandmother left a quilt cover with a poetic pattern, where cream-colored thin silk was dotted with inks and hiding the dull purple phoenix. Yanying designed a one-piece skirt by the quilt cover and the purple phoenix was put on the lower hem and both wide sleeves, displaying extreme uniqueness. Eileen worn such skirt in a garden party in 1943 and took photos together with Shirley Yamaguchi, a famous Japanese movie star. The photo is now still reserved in Photos Records.
At the old age, Eileen Cheung even though lost her surprising interest in the dress, in some occasions, she still, paid attention to her wearing. Rong-Hua Yang, the wife of Zhuang Xinzheng, once said, “Eileen Cheung is high and attached great importance on her appearance. She always wears neat hairs and becomes more outstanding by wearing Qipao with the pattern where the light base is sprinkled with bamboo leaf.” Yu Lihua, a renowned Chinese woman writer, said, “It’s not a casual collocation to wear the western dark grey woolliness straight under-dress with a red scarf tied on the long neck. It’s an artful coordination between the color of the dress and the slimness of neck. The hair is in microwave style, reaching to the shoulder and coiled up casually by dark hair clips seemingly to prop up the long and round face. I do think she is not beautiful but unique.
In people’s eyes, even at an old age, Eileen Cheung kept her unique style and taste in the dress and could never be too proper to be called Qipao Beauty.
Biography of Eileen Cheung:
Eileen Cheung, born in Sep. 3th, 1920 and died in Sep. 8th, 1995, originally was named Zhangying. With native home in Fengrun, Hebei province, she was yet born in Shanghai. She grew up in Beijing and Tianjin and moved back to Shanghai in 1929. After graduating from the middle school, she moved to study in Hong Kong. In 1942 when Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese intruders, she moved back to Shanghai again without graduation. She once wrote dramatic criticism and comments on films for the English version of The Times, as well as articles on Chinese life and dress for the 21st Century, an English magazine held by Germanys. In 1942, solicited by My Life, one column of West Wind, a magazine, she wrote a prose, named My Dream to be an Genius, and won the honorary award. In 1943, her first fiction work, Crumbs of Tambac (the first and second furnace incense), was published by Zhou Shoujuan in Violet, a magazine. After that, she successively published Love in a Fallen City, the Golden Cangue and other master works. The following three or four years constituted the harvest of her creation and her works were mostly published in the Heaven and Earth, Panorama and other magazines.
At the age of 23, she got married with Hu Lancheng and divorced after the anti-Japanese war. After the liberation of Shanghai in 1949, she began to publish novels in Yibao of Shanghai with the pen name of Liangjing. In 1950, she took part in the first Literary Convention of Shanghai and moved to live in Hong Kong and worked in the United States Information Service in 1952. She once published novels as Love on Naked Earth and Yangko Dance. In 1955, she resided in America and got married with Reyher, an American writer. And then she engaged herself in translation and novels research in the Chinese Research Center of the University of California. She lived in America as a hermit. In Sep. 8th, 1995, she died of old age in her own apartment in Los Angeles, US.
Her creation was mostly based on the upper class of Shanghai and Hong Kong, not ranging widely in social contents but expanding the subject area for modern literature. All her works both base themselves on Chinese classical novels and highlight the application of the psychological description means of western modernists, two of which are combined together to form the characteristic personal style.
Main works of Eileen Cheung include Legend, the novels collection, and Rumors, the proses collection. Besides, there are Little Ai, the medium-length novel, and full-length novels, including Eighteen Years, Yangko Dance, Love on Naked Earth, and Old Maiden, as well as Nightmare in the Red Chamber, the commentaries.
What figures are most suitable for dressing Qipao?
1. The one with slide shoulder. The wearer with upright shoulder and wide back will look sturdy and stalwart, lacking in grace.
2. The one with fine waist. The wearer with thick waist will not be pleasantly looking.
3. The one with plump hip.
4. The one with long neck. The high collar will highlight the long neck, demonstrating a kind of grace.
5. The one whose breast shall be in right size.
6. The one with proper height, ranging from 160cm to 170cm. Too high or too short will disturb the charm of Qipao.
Overview of Qipao
Qipao originated from Shanghai, China.
Qipao, reputed as the representative of Chinese dress culture, is a classical folk costume emphasizing the harmony and unification of inferiority and dexterity. With its flowing rhyme, stylish artistic inspiration and strong flavor of poetic, Qipao has displayed the elegant and tender disposition of Chinese women.
Qipao follows the trend of era, carries civilization, displays cultivation and reflects goodness, evolving to be like the gorgeous rainbow in sky. May Qipao connect the past with the future and connect life with art, sowing hopes for beauty and charms around the world.
Qipao is the mostly representative traditional costume of Chinese women. When it comes to the tradition, it reminds us of conservation of feudalism and taboos imposed by feudalism on women. Over thousands of years, the dress of Chinese women is solemn. Up to now, solemn and formal career women’s wear dominates the women’s dress of China.
Wearing phoenix coronet and robes of rank and being a motherly model of the nation. Should the Chinese feudal tradition of thousands of years put the highest expectation for women on this point, the word that can exactly explain everything is “display”. However, the only medium to display the well-shaped figure is dress.
No matter wearing the rainbow-colored and feathered costumes or the phoenix coronet and robes of rank, women will not stay away from hopes for beauty, elegance and romance, except the pursuit of resplendence and dignity. Maybe Qipao appears for this reason.
Human civilization has developed for five thousands of years and the women’s dress constantly advances with history development. Compared with the significant change of the world brought by science, the human body has kept the original state obstinately. This is not a miracle but provides possibility for dress development.
Dress cannot exist lonely without human body, neither does Qipao. Woman’s head, neck, shoulder, arm, chest, hip, leg and hands and feet form the perfect entirety with amounts of curves tactfully combined together. Qipao may be appreciated from this aspect.
Source of Qipao
Jujube(棗) Qipao, as one of Qipao families, could originate from the ancient Chinese robe, which was popular during the Spring and Autumn period.
Robes of banner men are quite different from Qipao or Jujube Qipao. There is a process of evolvement between them.
It seems that Qipao is the robe of banner men or women, but it’s not the correct explanation of Qipao.
At the beginning of the Republic of China, Qipao quietly transited itself.
Chinese regime experienced ups and downs at the beginning of 1900s, when the revolution of 1911 overthrew monarch and the Republic of China was established. Wearing pigtail and costumes tradition of Qing dynasty were abolished. The dressing etiquette of the Feudal dynasty was abrogated and only recorded in the history museum. All of these laid the foundation for the birth of modern Qipao.
During 1900s, mandarin sleeve and fresh style turned up.
During 1910s and at earlier phase of 1900s, the modern cultivated dress was popular among city ladies.
1930s was the golden age.
From 1920s to 1940s, the modern female dress witnessed its most brilliant period and reached its climax during 1930s. During this period, Qipao established itself as the irreplaceable role among women’s dresses, becoming the classical representative of ladies’ dress of China.
1940s was another golden age.
During 1930s, Qipao has become the classic of ladies’ dress; while in 1940s, Qipao achieved further development.
During 1950s, Qipao experienced an instant of resplendence.
In the People’s Republic of China, where the people are the master of the country, the common people played the leading role of the popularity of dress.
1960s and 1970s constituted twenty years when Qipao was desolated.
During the Cultural Revolution period from 1966 to 1976, the traditional culture, as well as Qipao, experienced its catastrophe.
During 1980s and 1990s, the resplendence of Qipao cannot return again.
The golden age of Qipao has gone far away and Qipao, having been desolated for thirty years, seemed to be dropped behind in China where reform and opening-up prevailed since 1980s.
Appreciation of Qipao
In recent dozen years, Qipao found its role in fashion again. Making stage poses usually on the international dress stage, Qipao exceeded its past in charm and grace and was worn in international social occasions as the formal representative folk costume.
Beijig Qipao and Shanghai Qipao
Beijig Qipao and Shanghai Qipao represent two styles in art and culture. Shanghai Qipao is featured with absorbing western arts with modern and flexible style and profound commercial element. While Beijng Qipao represents the traditional style, being reserved and concise.
Artists and Qipao
Art is a kind of social ideology reflecting social lives and thoughts and feelings of writers vividly through shaping images.
Designers and Qipao
Experienced the evolvement during the first half of 1900s, Qipao has had its basic characters and components stabilized and become a kind of classical dress for women. The classic is constant while fashion is ever-changing. As fashion designers found inspirations from classics, Qipao was thus one of sources of designers’ inspirations.
In a word, Qipao is the folk costume of Chinese women, not the lost history dress. Qipao has its vicissitudinous past, as well as the entirely fresh today. Carrying certain history meaning and highly enjoyable, Qipao has extremely high value in collection. Though fewer ladies now wear Qipao, the modern Qipao remain much traditional charm and could as well reflect the beauty of fashion, thus owning certain reserve value.