The qipao is the traditional Chinese dress, very essence of the oriental femininity, and owes its fame to the ancient Chinese prints. It’s also known by the name of cheongsam, and it appeared in Manchuria in the seventeenth century, during the Qing Dynasty, when it was adopted as a distinctive symbol of a particular social caste called “the people of the flag”.
At the beginning it was very different from the dress that we know today, and its purpose was to cover any feminine shape: it consisted of a large and rigid cape that dressed the woman from neck to toes, so that you could not see any “feminine form”.
The modern qipao, very tight and colorful, comes instead from the lively Shanghai of the ’20s and has been taken up and revisited also by modern designers. It is a dress characterized by linear shapes and fabrics (usually silk is used) and opulent embroidery, and it can be enriched by a sash to highlight the slender waist.
Also the colour of the qipao was important, especially at social level: the dark tones, suitable for formal occasions, stood opposite to the light colors, that identified a humble social descent for those who wore the cheongsam. The whote colour represented autumn, the black colour winter and the green colour spring. However, the most importan one was the red colour, symbol of summer and good-luck charm par excellence. The red qipao was often linked to particular rites, such as the New Year’s Day and weddings.
Taking a cue from the Chinese tradition, I created my personal qipao.
It was a quite challenging task, but I’m pretty satisfied with the result! However, I really enjoyed myself creating it and soon I will test myself with new fabrics!
Basic elements of the qipao dress are: a dress in one piece, usually very tight, with long or short sleeves. A high collar in Korean-style distinguishes it , which is fastened with frogs coming, descending diagonally from the base of the neck to the armpit. The skirt can have a variable length, usually to the knee or ankle-length, and is generally tight and with very deep side slits.
I created my qipao using a stretch cotton fabric mixed with satin, in black colour with tone on tone flower decorations.
The edging is white, to emphasize the classical fastening of the qipao with frogs, and to emphasize the side slits. I did not dare too much, however, with the length of the slits!
And finally, a rock-themed reference could not … enjoy the listening!!! 🎸🎸🎸