The modern day version of the dress is very sexy and feminine and can
be worn casually or formally depending on the length and the fabric used.
The mother above looks fabulous with her short and pink cotton cheongsam.
The terms of Qipao and Cheongsam mean the same thing in different dialects.
The original cheongsam was wide and loose, covering most of the woman's
body. The baggy nature of the clothing also served to conceal the figure of the
woman. With time, though, the qipao were tailored to become more form
fitting and revealing. The modern version, which is now recognized popularly
in China as the "standard" qipao, was first developed in Shanghai around
1900, after the Qing Dynasty fell. At that time, Chinese could freely wear
whatever they liked without the fear of penalty from the government (the
Qing government had strict control over their citizens' dress code down to the
way men wore their hair).
After World War I, prostitutes from overseas flocked to Shanghai,
wearing their exposing and body-hugging dresses. This brought
pressure to local prostitutes, whom were still wearing the original
baggy qipao. Thus, high-class brothels in Shanghai redesigned the
qipao to be body-hugging with side slits for their prostitutes. However,
only high-class prostitutes could wear these redesigned qipao at that
time. Slender and form-fitting with a high cut, it contrasted sharply
with the traditional qipao.
This girl looks very pretty and
demure in her modern Qipao.
A photo from the past of women hanging
out in short summer Chinese dresses.
The shortened collar represents a more
modern style of the Cheongsam.
Formal portraits were taken
in a Cheongsam as well.
Here's a vintage advertisement with a model in a short Qipao.
Many period Chinese films also make use of
the traditional garment. Maggie Cheung in
The higher collar represents an earlier
time in the 20th century.
It is also a favorite of singers and performers.
And also the choice of many
Asian movie stars.
A modified version of the Cheongsam with a halter top.
It's a great example of the melding of Eastern and Western design.
Nicole Kidman looks fabulous in this
more traditional take on the dress.
And even popular dolls in Asia are garbed with it.
Here's Blythe in a Cheongsam.
the Material Girl's design contest sponsored
by Swank Lighting! The grand prize is a pair
of these gorgeous lamps above in any color!
This is one contest you really don't want to miss.
Either of the links above will give you information
about the contest. I will be serving as one of the guest
judges for Swank Lighting. The submission deadline is
this Saturday on November 1, 2008.
and history bits from Wikipedia.