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. 


New cheongsam launches

I haven’t been updating on many cheongsam brands lately, especially for Joli Pretty, which has  had two launches since I last featured it. Blame it on my obsession with Pokemon Go. Man, the game is pretty addictive for me! Anyway, I decided that I have to refocus my attention back to my favored wear.

JP launched its latest collection on 19 October, a very early Chinese New Year preview. There are all dresses except for one top, and I notice the love affair with the Japanese kimono look is still ongoing. Overall, I don’t find any designs worth shouting out, nothing that stands out to make me have a second look. 

I’m afraid the same sentiment applies to Lark and Peony. The brand has launched a preorder for the Undercurrent series, designs with lace overlay on Japanese fabric. The cheongsam, in the USA classic cut, comes in the three colors: pink (as shown), green and burgundy. 

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The collection includes a new design, a 2-piece culottes, which I am sorry to say, doesn’t look very presentable to me. It reminds me of sleepwear. 

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So, I’m not exactly impressed with L&P’s latest collection either. 

Shanghai Tang has just launched six limited edition cheongsam designs, though a couple of them are still not available in store yet. According to the website, there are less than 10 pieces per dress and can only be purchased online or from a few stores worldwide. The cheongsams are in the classic cut, made from luxurious material. 

Take a look at this qipao below left, it’s made from calf leather with laser cut pattern to resemble lace. It is retailed at more than S$5,000.

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Here we have an elegant velvet cheongsam, which will be available soon.

Next, a jacquard cheongsam with crystal. 

Another calf leather cheongsam, but with embroidery.

And finally, a fully beaded cheongsam that retails at a whopping S$11,000! 

For those who is not looking for the red carpet look, you can consider the below designs which are more versatile. 

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To be honest, though the limited edition cheongsams do look exquisite, but in terms of style, I prefer those from 2015. I think Shanghai Tang is merely relying on expensive materials to boost this year’s  limited edition line instead of showcasing amazing designs like what they did last year. 

Anyway for the next post on cheongsam, I will be featuring designs from a shop I have recently discovered. 

The adhoc cheongsams and chinoiserie style 

I must say the cheongsam scene is really quiet these couple of months. There are few launches, and it seems like most are caught up with other busy work. Including me, who have been pretty distracted. 

Anyway, I thought I should showcase some designs to keep up the stuttering (close to braking point) momentum. So, here we have some designs from Hana boutique. 

The cheongsams, as you may realize, are usually in the classic straight fit, though the boutique does also offer cheongsam tops as well as an occasional modern design. Still, the dresses can’t run away from the “grand lady” look, with some being unabashedly ostentatious even. It may be due to the frills and fabrics, but the dresses don’t have a vibrant youthful look to them, and look more suited for middle aged ladies of leisure. 



I thought Shanghai Tang would have quite a few interesting cheongsams available, since it employs an army of designers. But turns out there is an emphasis on non-cheongsam attire instead. I managed to find a new design in the modern qipao look, which some might even dispute that it is a cheongsam. 

I was at Scotts Square yesterday and spotted the boutique, Chi Chi Von Tang, located at level 1. I was struck by how elegant and chic the displays look, and did a little research on the store.  

It turns out this is a new Singapore fashion label that melds oriental style with edginess. Looking at the designs on the website, I can understand why it is described as “Grace Jones meet Chinese couture”. This is the attire for a punk rocker with expensive taste! Despite not having any cheongsams, I might check out the chinoiserie tops instead. Maybe I will be able to show some pictures of their current collection. This reminds me, I should go check out Lai Chan and Studio 55 again. 

The new cheongsam launches (updated)

(I made a mistake with the launch date of Our Bitsy Prints’ 29th collection. It should be tonight, 6th April. Apologies!)

After a hiatus on cheongsam posts, I finally published one featuring new launches.

First on the list is Joli Pretty, whose latest designs are made available since last Thursday (31 March). This series of dresses are feminine in style, and I especially like those in laces.  

A couple of the cheongsams can be customized, like this red lace dress below. There is an extra cost of S$10 and above, depending on complexity.

Notice that all cheongsams show off the female silhouette, and even for the blue shift lace dress below, the peekaboo fabric plus the shorter length adds a touch of sultry to the design. However, I don’t think much of some of the prints, like those on the pastel floral dress and the butterfly dress. They make the cheongsams look a little gaudy.
 

  

Another online store, Our Bitsy Prints, is launching its latest 29th collection tomorrow (7 April). It has an interesting theme, “In the Noir Garden”, which has a mysterious feel to it. In fact, an image of a femme fatale comes into mind. Unfortunately, the designs and prints turn out rather average and boring, not befitting the theme at all.


Lastly, here are some cheongsam designs from Shanghai Tang.

Top picture features a classic dress with red floral print, followed by those from the SS/2016 collection. The contemporary style of the latter gives the cheongsam an edgy look. Even for the classic qipao, notice how with the pairing of black tights and high ankle boots give the dress a whole new feel? This is how to make the cheongsam relevant to the modern lady, and yet doesn’t take away the elegance of the dress. It is not by pairing it with sandals, flip flops or sneakers like what some designers or retailers do.            

 

 

 

The high end cheongsams

As promised, here are the options for the high end cheongsams, which I define as anything at S$300 and above. I am only featuring a few boutiques here.

First on the list is Blum & Co. One thing I have to say about its designs is that the company has always managed to produce rather interesting styles, and many of their dresses have beautiful prints. But I find that the workmanship is often not up  to mark, and for the price the dress is sold at, it is rather annoying. Even during a sale when I can get a dress at half price, I will end up paying a significant amount for major alteration work. And even when I send for alteration, there is not much fabric allowance in the lining for expansion even when there is sufficient dress material. It’s unbelievable that the boutique didn’t consider this.

Anyway here are some of the cheongsams available now, which, strangely, are not as many as compared to last year. There is hardly any new design as well; it’s like there is a dearth of ideas among the designers this year.

  


  

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A boutique you can consider for excellent workmanship is Hana, though the cheongsam style stays  mostly the same classic cut. If you are going for a modern look, this is not the place.

 

Finally, we have Shanghai Tang, which has released a few more modern cheongsams for the SS 2016 collection.

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A simple cheongsam

I admit I haven’t been following my schedule of putting up a post once a week, and that is because, lately, there are hardly any materials for my blog. Not sure the reasons why, but there aren’t that many new designs for cheongsams. So far, I have taken a look at Shanghai Tang‘s autumn/winter collection for 2015.

For this season, ST has gone for the simple and uncluttered look. Check out these dresses.

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An A-line dress with leather trimmings. Reminds me of the 60’s mod fashion.

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Trimmings and pleated skirt.

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A pretty pleated dress in a beautiful sapphire blue color.

For those who prefer the straight fit cheongsams, here are a few options.
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Joli Pretty launched its 15th collection a couple of weeks ago, which is amazing since it seems to be pushing out dresses every month. There are some new designs this time, which I think will appeal to the office ladies (OL), and the collection is also a showcase of simplicity.

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I took pictures of a couple of cheongsams from Hana recently, and you can see that they are also in line with the simple theme.
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If you ask me what I think of these dresses, I have to say, sure, it’s good to be simple. However I find them looking a little boring and even bordering on stale. Unfortunately the staid-looking prints are not helping to liven up the dresses. The only designs which look somewhat interesting  are the A-line black dress and blue pleated dresses from ST. I’m afraid it looks like there won’t be much of anything to gush about in the next couple of months, and we’ll have to wait till December when we’ll get a fair dose of exciting designs in anticipation of Chinese New Year.

Cheongsam updates again

Shanghai Tang is having its seasonable sale now, with discounts at up to 40% off. I checked out the dresses and picked out some pretty ones. Top on my list is this sophisticated cap-sleeved dress with embossed panel.
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Check out the beautiful fabric panel on the dress and the zip detail along the seam.
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Another amazing black dress in jacquard fabric, featured previously, which also comes in white.
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A simple ivory cheongsam dress with cotton-acetate blend fabric.

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Here’s one with a flare skirt, with an elegant belt to accentuate the waist.

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This is another dress which I had featured previously, under the limited edition range. A beautiful orange floral lace dress that looks really chic with the heeled gladiator sandals.

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I must say Shanghai Tang really knows how to accessorize their dresses. I love how the complementary the belts are.

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Dayglow Vintage is participating in the Public Garden Consumer Trade Show this Saturday at Suntec City Convention Hall 403 (from 1.00PM to 7.00PM). For those interested in their vintage-inspired dresses, do check out the event when you have time.

Since Chinese New Year, Dayglow has only launched a few cheongsam dresses, and they’re all in the same designs: flare skirt with sash. I must say they don’t seem much different from previous collections, and after while, the design gets a little stale.

Dayglow owl dress

dayglow sakura dress

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Some cheongsams on display.

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I have to say the print on this dress makes me go a little crossed-eyes.

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A medley of cheongsams for the young and old

Two Fridays ago, a friend sent me a link to an article from Her World Plus, featuring cheongsams from 11 stores, with prices ranging from the cheap to expensive. I notice that, other than one (Intoxiquette), I had featured these retailers in my blog. Personally, I feel it was a half-hearted article, and the writer could have chosen better pictures to feature the dresses. Anyway I’m doing my own medley of cheongsam selections for both the kids and adults, so that you can still go for some last minute shopping.

Before I begin, I want to say that I have thought about how I can showcase better cheongsam pictures. Seriously, some of the window display photos suck because of the glass reflection. After advice from my husband, I decided that the  best way is to approach the retailers (for the established brands) to request for website or FB photos. So that was what I did, and I’m happy to say that some retailers have agreed: Mama & Misse, Dayglow Vintage, and Jobs and Shop (this online retailer finally got back to me with approval).

First, let’s start off with Bloom B, a children boutique, which I think is from Singapore. I say this because there is no mention on where it originated from in the website, and the store locations are mainly in Singapore, with one in Malaysia.
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The cheongsam dresses for the little girls are rather pretty, except for the one with the glittery waist band. (Really, what’s with shiny objects and the female species?) Bloomb B dresses go for above S$60.

Over at Château de Sable, a French children boutique, there is a set of Chinese New Year clothes for the little girl, boy and baby, in salmon red with sheep print. I thought they look rather adorable despite the simple design. Goes to show that simple can be beautiful. And they are all below S$60, which is competitive to the online retailers

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Then there are the little cheongsams which can be considered as the mini “getai” (stage show) dresses. Goes to show the adults can transplant their gaudiness to kids.

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Now for the adult’s selections. Shanghai Tang has some early arrivals of their SS2015 collection. I like the design of below black dress that also comes in white, and it has such a pretty side knot. But I am more amazed by the price, which is S$1153. I did a little research, and found out that the textured jacquard fabric used (even though it is polyester in nature) is rather expensive. (Jacquard weaving requires time, specialized skill and expensive machinery.) At the same time, I learned that there are merits to polyester fabrics: fast drying, wrinkle resistant, stretch resistant and very durable. By the way, I am not marketing the cheongsam for ST, because, personally, I wouldn’t pay this price for a mass-produced dress.
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For a less formal look, here’s a dress from ST with a much shorter collar and in silk/cotton knit at less than S$500.
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I haven’t covered Sissae for quite some time. Here are a couple of the cheongsams from the latest Eurasian Doll collecton. Sissae’s dresses are characterized by formal and loud designs with a modern twist.
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When I contacted Mama & Misse, to allow me to use its website and FB pictures, I was half expecting no response. So it was a pleasant surprise to get a ready agreement considering I didn’t ask for permission the last time. (I first wrote about M&M in my post “The Search For Cheongsams” dated 6 Aug.) The designer/founder turns out to be a pretty nice person with a good sense of humor.

M&M sees itself as a team and does not differentiate or feature anyone in particular. The email replies are always signed off as “Mama & Misse”, and the word “we” is used when describing how they work, and so I shall follow as well.

I was told by M&M that they design all their dresses, prepare the drafts, and they are also the seamstresses. Their cheongsams lean toward the classic form, and this is what they believe the cheongsam to be. Instead of changing the form, they use fabrics to give the dress a modern twist by using colors and prints. Though there are trimmings such as lace, they are more subtle. M&M sourced their fabrics locally, ranging from the Indian sari to French lace. Their cheongsams cost at least S$250 for those in cotton and more than S$400 for those with French lace.
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Here is one of the latest CNY dresses from M&M, which I thought the design and print are a little too traditional for me.
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Now for the more affordable cheongsams in the mid-range. I was alerted by a reader to the qipaos from Dayglow Vintage. I had heard of this online retailer but did not look into the dresses closely, so I contacted the site. Lilian, the designer/founder responded readily in agreememt to my request to use her pictures. She is also willing to share information with me, which I am very appreciative.

From her profile in the website, I found out Lilian was a seamstress before starting the Dayglow Vintage (DV) online store, and she designs clothes, including cheongsams, under the “Dayglow” label. Perhaps it is her sewing background that makes Lilian rather particular when it comes to the fabrics. She mostly uses 100% cotton fabric from USA, and will soak the yards of materials to pre-shrink them and test for color fastness. Her design process starts with drawing out the design, and once she is happy with how it looks, she prepares a life-size draft, then the pre-production sample, and finally send it to the seamstress.

Lilian strives to bring perfection to the dresses she created for her customers. I want to put on the record that I have not seen any of them, but the reader who brought DV to my attention is a regular customer. She told me the dresses are of good quality and reasonable pricing. Personally I think the comment on quality is likely to be true. I find that designers who have backgrounds as a seamstress or tailor are meticulous in their quality process. They understand the technicality, and able to use that to improve their designs and know what works.

On the cheongsams from DV, to be honest, I’m not particularly wowed by the retro styles. Maybe it’s because I’m not a big fan of the look. But one interesting observation I have of the website  is that Lilian provided pretty detailed description and specifications of each dress, which is rather rare. So the customers get full details of the dress before buying.

The following dress “A Date With Spring” is currently sold out but still available on a pre-order basis before CNY.
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This dress below, Caffe Lady, has been very popular and is now sold out.
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A couple of the current cheongsams:

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Nine Lives Cheongsam

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See You At The Bund cheongsam

For those going for budget cheongsams, there is a limited selection from Joop boutique , which has many outlets located in malls, one of which is at Raffles City. The dresses are less than S$70 each.
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For even cheaper cheongsams at less than S$30, there is Job and Shop . Like what I mentioned in my post on cheap cheongsams dated 13 Jan, the style reflects the price. I am definitely not a target customer.
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Before I end off, I like to inform everyone that May Loh from Walking In May is organizing a first campaign for her blog site called ‘#CheongsamConfidence’. She is requesting women to wear the cheongsam on the second day of Chinese New Year (20 Feb), to make a step towards positive body image since the cheongsam is known to be a challenging dress and unforgiving to its wearer. When May approached me, I told her that being positive about your own body means wearing clothes that fit you well. The wearer has to know what her physique is and find the right design. Though a master cheongsam designer can help to hide the flaws and accentuate the assets (as long as the flaws are not overly excessive), but the master’s work comes with a price.  Well, I’m still supportive of women coming out in cheongsams and I’m sure that will be a sight that harks back to the heyday of the dress.
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Pushing the cheongsam envelope (update)

When it comes to pushing the envelope, there are sone designers who try to create avant garde cheongsams so that their designs stand out. Sometimes the results look fabulous, and sometimes they just look plain weird.

The Happy Cheongsam
THC is launching its 7th collection this week, which is inspired by the tuxedo. The same inspiration that sparked Yves Saint Laurent to create the first female pantsuit, Le Smoking, in the 1960’s, which is still so iconic to this day. In fact, many years ago,  I fell in love with the look and got myself a pencil pantsuit as well. While wearing it, I was trying hard not to look like I was sweating like a pig inside. (Hell! It’s really not suitable for Singapore’s humid weather, and you have to be in air con environment, that resembles the Arctic, to look cool in it.)

Anyway, THC is launching a smaller collection with only 4 dresses and a top. The one that caught my attention is “The Chap”, a sophisticated design with whimsical bird print on the bib.
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I love the paring of the playful aviary print with the dominant black color. It is neither a Tux nor cheongsam, but both, and done with a feminine flare. It is a stand out.

THC has a flirty “Pink Tux” dress for those who prefer a softer color. This design is not as creative as the one above, but still looks good for those looking for a pretty dress to wear for Christmas, Chinese New Year, or special dates.
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Then there is the interesting “Porcelain Bow”, which has the “Tai Tai” (lady of leisure) look about it.
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The weakest design of the lot is the “Girly Tux”. This comes in separate top and skirt, and the look is nothing new. But the color pairing is rather youthful and chirpy.
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Finally there is the cheongsam top, or maybe a Tuxedo vest? I like the design, which is rather smart-looking, but I’m not keen on the color combo. Would have been better with black button and stripes against blue.
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The sizing doesn’t come any bigger than L size, and I would urge those, who want a bigger size, to seriously comsider whether you would look good in it. The collection will be available this Friday at 8.00pm Singapore time. Though on THC website, it is indicated as sold out. Ming told me she is having some problems with the platform and trying to fix them. But rest assured that nothing is sold out yet, and sale is on a first come first serve basis at launch time.

Shanghai Tang
Shanghai Tang is known for pushing the envelope in its cheongsam designs. It celebrated its 20th anniversary in Shanghai on 22 October, and launched a limited edition imperial collection for evening wear. I have to say that the dresses are absolutely gorgeous, and expectedly the prices are sky high to match them.

I love this beautiful orange lace dress with pleats on the lower front. Because it has a modern vibe to it, the black stockings and gladiator heels add a sexy grittiness to the lacy femininity. This is a stunner!
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The other favorite is this organza and lace dress with geometric pattern on the lace. It has an interesting gather on the front waist, and a va va voom egg-shaped opening at the back. This is an absolute head-turner.
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Ong Shunmugam
I know Ong Shunmugam also tries pushing the envelope in redefining the cheongsam. I am late in the news, but I had just checked out the FW14 collection (launched during mid year) in the Her World website, and have mixed feelings about it. It’s called “Civilization and Madness”, and indeed some of the jarring mix of prints and cut made the poor cheongsam looks like it needs psychiatric help. Case in point is this dress below. Maybe the designer got her secondary inspiration from the Dayak tribe of Borneo, but I seriously am not sure if even the natives can look elegant in this.
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Luckily there are other designs which show some sanity, like these below. I particularly find the one with the peplum a display of talent in the way the prints are mixed and matched.
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The Her World magazine gushed about how the collection demonstrated that Ong Shunmugam had designed clothes that flatter a woman’s natural curves, and not just for the stick thin models. My first reaction to this was “what the hell are you talking about!”. If this is true, how come no pudgy models or even real women were used for the fashion show? Looking at the designs, other than the dress below, I’m not sure how a lady with a tummy or flabby arms would look good in any of them. This description about flattering a woman’s curves is just bullshit, because you don’t see a single real woman walking the runway in any major fashion shows, least alone the minor ones. And for that matter, would any ladies buy the clothes if they see real women on the runway? I guess, it’s human nature to want to live in fantasy.
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Sneak Peek
Our Bitsy Prints provided a peek into an exclusive print for their upcoming collection.
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Yes, you see right. Kuehs! The illustration is by Mr Lee Xin Li, and I must say the kuehs look rather delectable. Both my husband and son are big fans of the dessert. I’m sure, if I do get this dress, I’ll get calls of “Kuehs, kuehs!” from my husband, and “yummy!” from my son.

(Update on 7 Nov)

Last night, THC uploaded more pictures of its latest collection on the FB page. After checking the back view of “The Chap” dress, and I have reservations about it. The rumpled gathers at the back cause the dress to lose the sleek look it has in front. Unfortunately I can’t save the photo to show it here.

The other disappointment is the cheongsam Tux top. There is a row of pleats on the back, and again, it doesn’t look as sleek as it should it be.
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Cheongsam for the occasion

The Happy Cheongsam launched their 4th collection two Thursdays ago and Our Bitsy Prints launched their 15th collection last Thursday. But this time I am not reviewng their cheongsams, instead I am going to highlight the pretty dresses for the special occasions, together with those from the new collections of other brands.

The latest launch from THC comes in candy colored Shantung silk, and this sweet-looking pastel yellow dress has the tulip bottom fit that I like. In fact it is the same design as the Tiffany blue dress from the first collection except that the collar is 4cm high. If you are looking for a pretty dress to wear for a meeting with the to-be in-laws, this will do the trick to present a positive first impression.
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A neon pink dress, also from THC, that features a bow on the waist. This is perfect for a bride at an afternoon tea reception or marriage registry. This will also look great during Chinese New Year, which will set you apart from the rest of the boring red.
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Both dresses from THC are also good for first dates. He won’t be able to take his eyes away from you.

I really like this pretty perankan print from OBP, which is inspired by the unique peranakan tiles that OBP founders discovered in the old houses located at Joo Chiat. I love that it is paired with a bright teal green color. This dress is an eye turner wherever you go.
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The fabric is made from organic cotton. I was wondering if there is a difference in feel between the organic and non-organic cotton. It turns out not. Melanie from OBP explained:
“The normal cotton that we use for day-to-day purposes on our regular tee shirts etc is actually genetically modified so that the produce can meet the world’s demand. However, when harvesting “normal” cotton, there will be some harm to the environment; especially to some vital insects. 

Organic cotton does not have any visible/physical differences from normal cotton though, so you won’t be able to tell, but it’s just that they are harvested in a less harmful manner to the environment. This fabric is also made with eco-responsible, low impact dyes for printing and dying of the prints.”

So you are helping to protect the environment by using organic cotton.

OBP also launched a bright yellow dress (fabric is organic cotton as well) with sapphire-colored piping and detachable belt. I like this design with its high collar (reminds me of the Mongolian traditional wear), and the cheery print and color combination is a standout.
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I was hoping to get my hands on either one of the above dresses but unfortunately I was too slow. I must say OBP’s latest launch has a number of interesting and pretty prints. Good work, ladies!

I haven’t checked out Sissae’s new collections til now. Their dresses have gone bold and sexy!

This va-va-voom sultry black dress titillates with its peekaboo design. It is a stunner for an evening at a fine restaurant. If you are dressed to impress on a first date, this is a knock-out!
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The below cheongsam with a midi skirt may seem conservative, but I think the fabrics of crepe and organza silk make it look really graceful. The print on the skirt gives it a contemporary feel as well. It is the perfect follow-up date dress to the one above, showing you are not all sultry but capable of channelling elegance.
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The following Shanghai Tang red wool dress has an ultra short collar. I’m usually not one to go for it but the fabric and cut drape so beautifully on the bodice and makes it irresistibly. It is simple and yet sophisticated, that I can’t help myself from droolng over the design. I have to make an exception to this ultra modern look.
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Finally I found a dress from Lark and Peony that I like: a beautiful sapphire blue dress with obi belt. Though it’s a classic cut with high collar, it comes with short puff sleeves. I like how the obi belt complements the dress, adding a touch of elegance. The dress is named after a warrior princess, and indeed the beautiful royal color is fit for one. (I wish there is a description of the fabric though.)
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This is an interesting print from Elegente: dramatic red coral on white silk, a statement piece.
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