The Unforgettable Art of Qipao 

Although the movie In the Mood for Love takes place in Hong Kong, the heroine represents a Shanghai middle-class woman. Maggie Cheung鈥檚 gorgeous Qipao dresses were also made by Shanghai tailors.

Now women in Shanghai can always follow the world latest fashion trend. Yet as Chinese people are more and more aware of resuming traditional culture, they choose to wear the traditional dress, Qipao, to show their oriental and mystical beauty,

Maoming and Changle Streets are two perpendicular streets in Shanghai, where numerous Qipao shops are located.

These shops all have their own characteristics. Some are focused on traditional Qipaos, while others are on new-style Qipaos or other Chinese clothes.

Every piece was such an art work that customers or even window-shoppers like myself were tempted/attracted to try it on.

Xu Yulin, a former graduate from the Academy of Arts and Design, of Tsinghua University , operates a Qipao shop with a partner on Changle Street.

Unlike other fashion design students, his interest is solely devoted to the Qipao. He has gained inspiration from antique Qipaos, furniture, sculptures and other traditional Chinese arts. He brings these elements to his Qipao designs, and with a combination of broidery and beads, he creates nostalgic but fashionable Qipaos.

Another young designer, Guo Pei, owner of Rose Studio in Beijing, is inspired by western culture when designing Qipaos. She has visited many European countries, and borrows their designs through oil painting and architecture. Yet her understanding of the Qipao tradition surprised me.

From the perseverance of older-generation Qipao makers to the originality of young designers, from little tailor shops to modern studios, I can definitely tell that there will be a revival of the Qipao art and Chinese people鈥檚 awakened passion for it. This huge market along with more and more customers are a very good sign.

Qipao, as a traditional dress, is now a must have for Chinese weddings. Almost all brides will prepare a Qipao for their own wedding.

Yu Ying was the chief fashion designer for the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Conference) in Shanghai, where the Chinese clothing culture was introduced to the world. She combined tradition with a western influence, using new technology, to design her Qipaos. She believes that the future of the qipao relies on the younger generation, from both the designers鈥 and customers鈥 side.

Qipao鈥檚 simplicity, elegance and Chinese features help women look special and attractive on different occasions and events. It shows a woman鈥檚 body curves without too much exposure of the skin. The nostalgic Chinese essence makes it become a shining star on the world fashion stage. Famous movie stars, Chinese or non-Chinese have begun to wear them. Even the Barbie doll has a Qipao dress.

As the Chinese government has invested great efforts in promoting traditional culture and Chinese people are more attracted to that, Qipao gradually enters Chinese people鈥檚 daily and social life and it has brought more charm to this oriental country.


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