The new cheongsams from Lai Chan (updated)

(Note: added the A-line cheongsam that I missed out earlier.)

I was at Raffles City mall a couple of days ago and decided to pay a visit to Laichan boutique. I was happy to spot some new designs, like this light grey modern cheongsam with a knot at the center waist. A classy dress that looks absolutely presentable for work and important meetings. A great modern interpretation of the traditional.


Of course Lai Chan’s classic cheongsams are the staple, and we have a number of new prints available. You can expect a burst of floral blooms in this collection. For those who like to have a little flair to their dresses, here’s one with a splash of flowers.

I love the bright poppy flower print of this dress below, which pairs beautifully with the contrasting blue stone buttons. I’m a sucker for vibrant colors!

If you prefer something a little more feminine and subtle, here is an option. The print reminds me of an English garden. 

Another dress that caught my eyes! Yes, I was taken in by the combination of the azure blue flowers and the aquamarine leaves. That blue color is gorgeous! 

For something a little different, this is a retro floral print which is pretty in its own right.


If you are looking for a more earthy tone, you can opt for this elegant purple cheongsam that looks amazing in any formal setting.


Laichan also launched a loose fit cheongsam for women who wants a more casual look. I really like the modern floral print of this sporty dress.

Late last year, Lai Chan added the A-line cheongsam to his collection, and it has been a hit since because of the presence of pockets. We women love the convenience of pockets don’t we? (At leash for Singaporean women.) This time, Laichan used the retro geometric print for the dress, which gives it a rather youthful look. 


There is a wide selection of cheongsam tops available as well, though I am only showcasing a few here. Down here, we have one  with small floral print, and the other in block color complemented with floral appliqués.

I spotted this interesting modern top with a pretty floral print on the front and a purple back panel. Instead of the usual side buttons, there is a hidden zip at the back. However, I’m not sure if there’s a problem with the purple fabric or that this is a difficult material to handle because there is puckering along the zipper. And I only realized, upon looking closely at the picture, that even the bottom seam looks jagged.  If this is what happened when a zip is used instead of buttons, then I rather go for the latter. Perhaps I am being picky, but  I find puckering unsightly.


All in all, I would still say the collection is rather eye-catching, and many of the classic cheongsams are drool-worthy. 

The new cheongsam launches 

Things have been pretty slow with the cheongsam collections. There have not been a lot of launches from the online stores over the past couple of months. So far, there was Lark & Peony which launched a few cheongsam tops earlier in April. Finally, yesterday,  Joli Pretty launched a full collection consisting of dresses, jumpsuit and a couple of tops.

Blue seems to be the favorite color for this S/S 17 launch; what with it being so predominantly featured. The dresses and jumpsuits are priced below S$180, and the tops are below S$100. The designs aren’t exactly outstanding but if you are looking for modern and reasonably priced cheongsams, they make presentable work wear.




Another boutique I am featuring here is Sissae, a brand which I haven’t showcased its cheongsams for quite some time. Sissae is known for its chic looking dresses, and it has started to offer simpler designs in linen or cotton fabrics. Overall, the prints and embroideries make the cheongsams look rather elegant and classy; but I find the workmanship doesn’t match up to it. 







Finally, we have Shanghai Tang, which has focused on the classic straight-cut cheongsams for the S/S 17 collection.  I had featured most of them previously, and here are a few of the newer designs. 

Other than the Dragon scale print dress shown in the lowest picture, the other two will set you back a tidy sum of S$2997 and S$3755 for the one on top and in the middle respectively.  The brand justified the price tags by labelling them as limited edition. But they are still not  one of a kind; and there would be at least a few women having the same dress. If I’m going to pay this amount for a dress, it has better be unique. 


Cheongsam update at Lai Chan 

I know I haven’t been putting up new posts regularly in my blog for the past couple of months, and it’s because work has been really busy. I have little time to look for materials for the blog, amidst juggling between family and work. Anyway I finally made a trip to Lai Chan a few days ago to check out the new designs. So, let’s take a look at the dresses first.

The cheongsams are mostly in classic Lai Chan style with semi precious stone buttons, though I spotted quite a few retro prints among them, like this white polka dot black dress.


This tweed fabric cheongsam is slightly different from the rest in that it has stud buttons, making it easy to put on. I find the seemingly simple design belies an  understated elegance.

Below we have a Japanese cotton fabric with a retro flair.


Another easy to wear cheongsam with back zip, though there are few classic styles available with such wearability. But I am not into this print; I feel it looks a little matronly.

When I first saw the below dress with abstract print, I didn’t think much of it until I took a closer look. I like how Lai Chan used the polka dot binding to juxtapose against the print, creating an interesting combination. However, I wish the dress has stud buttons instead. Though the stone buttons make the cheongsam looks good, they can be a pain because they really test your patience.


Another cheongsam with retro print here.


One of the few cheongsams that Lai Chan made with pockets. This design was actually launched end last year but in solid colors. This time Lai Chan used what looks like jacquard fabric, which gives it a regal look, but the color is not easy to pull off.

We have a new design here, a modern cheongsam for the formal occasion. This will please those looking for something different from the classic style.


Other than dresses, there are a number of cheongsam tops available. One is an elaborately embellished vest which I find is a little too ornate for me.

I do like the below modern top with the stripy collar and polka dotted front with side zip. Combined with a yellow back panel, this is pretty striking.

Most of the tops are in the classic style with side stone buttons, and some are designed with denim back panels.




If any of these pieces caught your eyes, do check them out at the store at Raffles City mall. Since these are one-off pieces, I cannot say they would still be available though. But it’s nice to browse through the collection, and you might fancy something not featured here.

A cheongsam update 

Over the past few days, I went to Peter Kor’s boutique to check out the sale and to the pop-up store of Laichan.

As mentioned in my previous post, Peter is holding a sale for the previous collections including the CNY cheongsams from 30-70%. Most of the cheongsams are going for 30% off, and there are a number of new designs that I didn’t spot during my visits before CNY. Take a look at them here! The sale will end this Sunday (19 February). So if you are interested in any of them, do make a trip down to the boutique at 222 Queen Street. 

There are quite a few cheongsams with retro prints, such as these below with the ruffled hemline. 


 



Also available are dresses  embellished with lace or intricately-embroidered floral buttons.




Lai Chan’s pop up store opens 2 days ago at Raffles City Mall, on the second level. The exterior wasn’t fully done up when I was there, like the shop name wasn’t put up then. Eddie told me that everything would be completed by next week.

The interior design has a clean line feel about it which makes it looks cool and edgy, though it wasn’t intentional. I was told the shop was previously occupied by Nike, and not much was done to the design since it is temporary. To add to the cool factor, a snake-skin print cheongsam with sequins was on the mannequin. 

I will return when the shop is all done up, ready for pictures.  Hopefully there will be some new designs I can showcase as well.

Cheongsam news snippets 

Some of you might be aware that Laichan‘s boutique at Raffles Hotel has closed because the hotel is undergoing a major refurbishment. But fret not, he has a temporary store at Raffles City mall, #02-29, starting from 16 February till 15 July. He will relocate to a permanent shop at Paragon from 1 August. 

Peter Kor is having a post CNY sale at his boutique at 222 Queen Street, #02-03. If you have been eyeing his collection, you should go check it out since it’s going at 30-70% off. 

If you are still hankering for cheongsams or considering if you should get one, here are more suggestions for you.

Utopia at Parkway Parade

Blum at various locations

The Proposal at Capitol Piazza


 

Tong Tong Friendship Store at Shaw tower

Mandarin Peony at Tang 

Clothier at Tang

Looking good in the Lai Chan cheongsams

There are only 5 days to CNY; not much time left to grab a cheongsam for the celebration. If you’re been following my posts, you will see there are a lot of choices available still. Though if you require alteration service, then tough luck! But it’s ok to get a dress that you can wear after the festivity. 

Some of you may not like the choices offered in the earlier posts, especially if you are looking for something fabulous, that stands out. So, I had made a trip to Lai Chan yesterday to check out what is available (but I cannot guarantee any of them will still be after this post is published.) 

One of things I like about getting a cheongsam at Lai Chan is the after-sale service. The boutique is one of only two I know of which strives to ensure the dress fits the customer nicely. I might have mentioned it before but the boutique once told a customer, who dislikes alternation, that if the dress didn’t fit after it was done, she would get a full refund. That is how much emphasis the boutique places on making the customer looks good. It didn’t matter how many alterations are required, most important is that the dress has to fit. If alteration is not possible, the customer will be asked to have the dress custom made.

There are dresses for those who prefer something bright and cheery, and those who want light colors.




A pleated cheongsam with pockets! A rare desire from Lai Chan. 


How about a loose fit cheongsam for those who want to feel comfortable in it? The collar is also lower than those in the usual dresses. Another good thing about this is that there is a zip instead of multiple buttons which can put off some women.

Enough of dresses? There are cheongsam tops available. Lavender and fuchsia pink stand out!



The dresses go for more than S$750 and the tops are more S$400. But each piece is unique, and workmanship is excellent. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, the important alteration service.

Going for the non-red cheongsams

Many women are not into looking like a red packet during the lunar new year. Some will prefer subtle colors, though bear in mind that it is not easy to carry off pastel/light colors especially on photos. Most times, the person looks washed out in them. So, instead of red, I think blue is a really nice color. If you are adventurous, there is also purple, green, yellow, and of course, an offshoot of red, pink! Even black with splashes of red is acceptable as well. 

There are many options for non-red cheongsams available right now, in various price range. Check out these if you  want to be non-traditional!

Couture by Szan @ Changi Airport T3 (below S$100)

Mazzario @ One Raffles Place (from S$159)

 

Utopia @ Parkway Parade (below S$120)

img_2438-2

Seoul Fashion @ Raffles Xchange (from S$129)

img_2448

Nana @ Arcade (below S$200)


Miz Apparels @ One Raffles Place (below S$200)

img_2449

img_2450

img_2451

Peter Kor @ Studio 55 (from S$250)

img_2580

img_2488-1

Y by Yann @ Isetan Scott (from S$329)

img_2558

img_2559

Lai Chan @ Raffles Hotel (from S$780)
img_2478

Hana @ Arcade (from S$1,000)

img_2567-2



 

Painting the town red  in the cheongsams

Chinese New Year is all about bold bright colors. And red is always associated with it  because of a folk lore that claims red is an auspicious color that warded off the monster, Nian. So when it comes to the cheongsams, the color abounds. For those who want to make a CNY statement, here are the firecracker red cheongsams you can proudly put on.

Mazzario @ One Raffles Place (from S$159)

Seven @ Raffles Place (below S$200)


Seoul Fashion @ Raffles Xchange (from S$129)

Little Qipao  @ Isetan Scott (below S$180)

img_2561-1

Couture by Szan @ Changi Airport T3 basement (below S$200)

Nana @ Arcade (from S$140)


Peter Kor  @ Studio 55 (from S$250) 

Y by Yann @ Isetan Scott (from S$328)

img_2556

img_2557

img_2555

Hana @ Arcade (from S$1,000)

 

 

 

The cheongsam collection from Blum

When it comes to the cheongsam, Blum is one brand that is closely associated with it. In fact, I have been featuring its collections all these years, and the dresses are among those pictured in my first post on the qipao “I love cheongsams”. 

Most of my earlier cheongsams are from Blum as I was attracted to their elegant designs and prints. But that was the time when there were few cheongsam retailers around, and I did not know about  other brands like Peter Kor or Mama & Misse then. 

In terms of designs and price range, I will say Peter Kor’s collections can be used to measure against those from Blum. They are in the range of S$200+ to almost S$400, though selected Peter Kor cheongsams have been retailed for more. They both have the modern cheongsam designs albeit in their own styles, and interesting prints. However, when it comes to workmanship and fabrics, I have to say Peter Kor has a big edge. Peter is able to source interesting and good quality fabrics, and the workmanship is also better. A reader wrote to me a couple of months back to lash against Blum cheongsam, saying the fabrics were very lousy. So, for this price range, I rather go for Peter Kor’s cheongsams than Blum’s. 

I find this year’s collection from Blum features similar prints and designs as last year’s. And even the range seems a little thin as well. The brand appears to be struggling to launch standout dresses in the face of increased and intense competition. Even the number of stores has reduced; there is only one at Raffles Place now compared to three stores a few years ago. 

Anyway, here is  the collection spotted so far. 


img_2442


img_2469

img_2474

img_2463



 


 

The classic, the modern, the cheongsam 

Last week, I went over to Studio 55 to check out the latest collection from Peter Kor for the Chinese New Year. As befitting the festive occasion, the Cheongsams are in cheery floral and geometric prints. Though the designs are in the classic cut, they have a modern style about them. Best of all, they have hidden back-zips which make them easy to put on. Granted the collars may be a little high for some women, but that is what make the cheongsams look good.

img_2343

Check out  the striking juxtaposition of the stripy print with the floral one! It also comes in blue.


img_2346

Look at the beautiful faux fabric buttons on the neck and side slit of this red dress! I really like the intricate details that Peter added to his cheongsams.

A dress that is so appropriate for Chinese New Year! The leafy embroidered piping is hand sewn onto the cheongsam.


Same design but with a whimsy patchwork print.

img_2375

img_2376

If you prefer simpler dresses that can be worn to work, here are some options for you.

Check out the nipped-in feature on the left waist! A combination of the classic and modern styles.

When I spotted the dress pictured below, I went “wow”! Peter told me he was inspired by the flamenco dress, and I found out that the most famous of the outfit is the polka dotted traje de lunares. I think this is such an amazing oriental version of the Spanish outfit. FYI, the fabric is from Italy and the quality is exquisite. I was also struck by the beautiful fabric buttons, like flowers. This is an amazing looking dress!

If you are looking for a lace dress, here is one, sort-of. Rather than using the whole lace fabric to make a dress, Peter went for a different tack by adorning the bottom of the cheongsam with red lace and beads. This dress is a standout for any occasions!



For a dress without frills, here is one with an artsy print. However, I feel that the short sleeves make the dress look a little mumsy.

The dresses are priced between S$199 to S$499, depending on designs, and are available at its main boutique at s22 Queen Street as well as at certain department stores such as Isetan Scotts.