Qipao Crush

In honor of Chinese New Year, it seemed only appropriate to celebrate China’s most infamous fashion export, the Cheongsam, or Qipao dress. Currently enjoying a runway reprisal via Louis Vuitton S/S 11, the Cheongsam boasts a long and varied history as an essential component of Asian dress, much in the way 20th/21st century staples like blue jeans have come to form the backbone of western wardrobes. More conservative, wide-cut and often floor-length styles were de rigeur for centuries before the tailored qipao as we know it today emerged in Shanghai in the 1920s. By the 1930s, the qipao became a part of everyday dress for Asian women and was available in a wide variety of fabrics and styles by the 1940s. The qipao was adopted as an exotic fashion item in the West in the 1950s and 60s, cut in luxurious brocades and shimmering duchesse satin, often with matching stoles. Long, languid, and chic, the cheongsam is enjoying a comeback in this year of the rabbit.

Related Report: Qipao Textile Charm

Qipaos in the 1930s

Early 1960s

Early 1960s

Western sewing patterns circa 1950s, 60s; a hostess in Qipao

Office-appropriate Qipao suits, early 1960s

Louis Vuitton S/S 11

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