Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chinese Dress Qipao / Cheongsam

I have always been fascinated with the beauty and unique elegance of style which the Chinese classic dress delivers...known as Qipao or Cheongsam. The Qipao is a close fitting dress and traditionally worn by Chinese women. Easy to slip on and comfortable to wear, it is one of the most versatile costumes in the world. The high-necked, closed-collar and sleeves either in full length, short, medium or even sleeveless to suit different occasions, weather and individual tastes. The dress is buttoned on the right side, with a loose chest, a fitting waist, and slits skirt up from the sides, all of which combine to set off the beauty of the female shape.

The Qipao came from the Manchus who grew out of ancient Nuzhen tribes. Initially it started from a collarless, tube-shaped gown which was worn by both men and women. That is the embryo of the Qipao. The Chinese apparel Qipao became popular among ladies of the royal family in the Qing Dynasty. At that time, Qipaos were fitted loosely and long. Usually, they were made of silk and the whole dress was embroidered, with broad lace trimmed at the collar, sleeves and edges.

With the influence of Western dress styles, the Qipao underwent a change. The cuffs grew narrower and were usually trimmed with thin lace. The length of the dress was shortened as well. This new adaptation allowed the beauty of female body to be fully displayed. Soon the Qipao became fashion among women in the whole of China. Various styles existed during this period. Some were short, some were long, with low, high or even no collars at all. From there on, the Qipao became closer-fitting and more practical. In summer, women wore sleeveless dresses. Qipaos of this period were seldom adorned with patterns. They are sometimes worn by politicians and film artists in Taiwan and Hong Kong. In Western culture, the Qipao became synonymous with the 1960 movie, The World of Suzie Wong starred by Nancy Kwan. Chinese women wearing Qipaos were found in many old Chinese movies and advertisements at that time.

Today, Qipaos are only commonly worn daily as an uniform for people working in the restaurants, hotels, customer services and certain airline industries. With its variety of styles, the Qipao shows its charm at many markets. Due to its elegance and classical looks, the Qipao becomes a source of inspiration for fashion designers. World-renowned brands like CD, Versace, and Ralph Lauren have all cited some Qipao elements in their designs. Many foreign women are eager to get themselves a Qipao should they visit China. Chinese fashion Qipao is no longer a garment particular to Chinese women, but to all women throughout the world. More and more women appreciate its beauty. When it comes to important Chinese social gatherings, the Qipao is their first choice among dresses. Also a lot of Chinese brides choose a Qipao as their famous Chinese wedding dress. Qipao remains a vibrant part of the Chinese culture.

The Qipao can display all women's modesty, softness and beauty. Like Chinese women's temperament, the Qipao is elegant and gentle, its long-standing elegance and serenity makes wearers fascinating and attractive. Mature women in Qipao can display their graceful refined manner. It does not require the wearer to pep up the look with accessories like scarves and belts. Designed to show off the natural softness of the female form, it also creates the illusion of slender legs. The overall picture is practical, timeless and yet sexy.