A cheongsam medley – part 1 (Updated)

For those looking for cheongsam at Raffles Place, the usual boutiques are now back at the newly refurbished One Raffles Place. (The retail cum commercial building is not fully completed yet, but 80% of the retail shops have opened.) Both Vourgeois and Miz Apparels are located on the 4th level.

Yesterday was MA’s opening and the boutique had engaged a lion dance troupe for the occasion. I managed to wait out the loud performance, and snucked to the window display to check out the new dresses. Unfortunately no cheongsam was on display. I do not know if there is any available inside the store, since I didn’t have a chance to go in. I will find time to check out what is available, thought it is possible the cheongsam collection is only available during the Chinese New year period.

As for Vourgeois, only one cheongsam is on display. Though a modern design, there is nothing exciting about it.

Hana has the usual straight cut cheongsams which still look matronly. Seriously I don’t know why the dress length is tailored below the knees.

This is a emerald green lace overlay on silk lining of the same color.

A geometric print dress from Hana, which might mistaken the wearer for zigzag lines on the road.

Lately, I have been receiving photos of cheongsam from this profile ‘Qipao’ via Google+. The dresses are in the traditional straight cut design with really high collar. The one below goes by the name ‘ The Rain of Night’, which, I admit, I don’t get it. Even the short sleeves and the print are so traditional that they make the cheongsam look dated.

The cheongsam below, called ‘Paints’, has at least a more modern print, but still in the traditional design. Yes it ticks all the boxes for an elegant cheongsam, but  we should be looking for sophistication in this age.


I have to use Shanghai Tang as an example of sophistication again. Take for instance, the below triacetate black cheongsam. It is simple and yet oozes sex appeal, and this is because the fabric and the cut hug the body beautifully. In fact I think even though the model ha nude makeup on, she still looks outstanding because of the dress.

Shanghai Tang Triacetate Qipao

Shanghai Tang qipao 2

(Updated on 19 June)
A regular reader, Vincent, alerted me that ‘Qipao’ is the ID of the online cheongsam boutique, Elegente. I had previously reviewed their dresses in my post ‘More Cheongsam Reviews’ dated 9 April. Elegente provides mainly traditional designs, with a few modern pieces.

Now I’m not against the traditional straight cut cheongsams. After all, not too long ago, it was my preference. But even with the straight cut, it has to be updated, and I find Elegente dresses stuck in the 1930s mold. If you are looking for a vintage look, you can check out Maggie Cheung in the iconic movie “In The Mood For Love”. She showcased the 1960s cheongsam style, which was in the rage then: below knee length (it was still rather conservative), tight fitting form with wasp-thin waist, high collar, and paired with heels. According to the book “In The Mood For Cheongsam”, the dress was considered modern then because it incorporated the western form-fitting silhouette. But because it is distinctively Chinoiserie, the Chinese women loved it for being different from the western flocks. The dress allowed women to show off their hourglass figure as well (with the help of corset undergarment). But when you think about it, it’s rather impractical in today’s age. Still I have to admit the women looked really sexy in this constricting form, and it doesn’t have the dated look of the 1930s.

4 thoughts on “A cheongsam medley – part 1 (Updated)

  1. Hi Maria,

    just for your info, the images you got off google plus are advertising images for an online qipao shop called elegente (www.elegente.com) If you have an instagram account, you can see all their designs (username : cheongram), or via facebook (elegente). If im correct, they have online custom tailored qipaos accoridng to the designs that they have already launched. So far from what I’ve seen, they are more inline with launching more traditional designs.

    • Hi Vincent,

      Thanks for the info. I had reviewed Elegente dresses when the online boutique contacted me. I had a feeling these pictures were from her, but I didn’t have the time to check. Yes, they do mostly traditional designs with a few modern pieces.

  2. Hi Maria

    Just wondering, why do some cheongsums have their front flap closing from left to right, whereas some are from right to left? Would you happen to know which is “proper” or “correct”? Thank you.

    • Hi there,

      The opening flap is on the right of the collar. I have also seen a couple of dresses with left opening flap, but I suspect this is a faux flap, that is simply for show and not functional.

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