Cheongsam updates 

Some latest news on the cheongsam. 

Peter Kor’s Studio 55 boutique is having a mid year sale for the entire month of June. The cheongsams from past collections are on sale at major discount, from at least 50% off. Some even going for 70% off and others are discounted to as low as S$99.

If you like any of those Chinese New Year dresses I had previously featured in my blog, now is the time to get them at these big discounts. Though, only limited sizes are available. 

For the current W collection, Peter only designed a couple of cheongsams as he focused on work clothes. Here are the two designs I spotted: one modern interpretation, and the other, though in classic cut, has a contemporary print.



While I was at the boutique, Peter revealed that he has started work on the collection for next year’s CNY, which took me by surprise as it seems pretty early to me. He has started late for this year’s designs, and as a result, he was unhappy with some of the shoddy workmanship due to the rush job. So he is starting early this time to make sure the dresses would be up to his expectations. And I was very lucky and pleased when he showed me some of the completed samples. I have to say they are gorgeous! I couldn’t take any pictures of course, but I can assure you the prints and fabrics (from France) are simply amazing. Already, I’m thinking that I would burn a hole in my pocket when the collection is launched. 

Over the past week or so, two brands have launched new dresses again: Joli Pretty and Sissae. For JP, this is the second part of the Spring/Summer 2017 collection.

There is a mixture of jumpsuits, dresses and tops.




Jumpsuit style seems to be trending, because Sissae is also offering it as part of it latest “Virtuous” collection. The designs are in the typical Sissae formal style, but are also ultra modern in looks. Despite having misgivings about the workmanship, I have to admit the designs are pretty striking and remind me of those from the  French couture fashion houses.



That’s it for now, folks! I’ll continue to sniff out other collections and will update then.

Cheongsam sales continue at Studio 55

Studio 55, the boutique by Peter Kor, has moved from Purvis Street to 222 Queen street a couple of weeks ago. I made a trip to the new location yesterday to check out the new shop. 

I must say I like the ambiance at Queen street better than at Purvis. Queen street is the lane along The Singapore Art Museum, which is a stone’s throw away from the shop. There is the Church of St Peter and Paul next door, and Singapore Management University is pretty close by. 

The place has a cultured vibe about it. In fact, as I was walking down the street, I noticed two pianos standing in this open space and there were two kids playing on them. There is also a relaxed air about the locale, even the cars drive by leisurely. 

The place is rather easy to get to, with the Bras Basar MRT station very close by, and lots of buses. For those who drive, parking is available at the church (except on Sunday), or the hotel across the streets.

Peter’s shop is located in this building called “Le Danz”, at #02-03. When I first stepped in, I was a little surprised to find the shop space had shrunk compared to the one at Purvis’. But it turned out there was more to the boutique as Peter led me along a hallway to a another part of the shop where more racks of dresses are available.

The decor retains the previous classy zen look. There is no clutter, lots of space to move around, and there are three changing rooms.

Peter has extended the relocation sale to the end of this month, 30 June. At either 50% or 70% off, the dresses and jackets are worth checking out. There are also non-cheongsams available, for those who want regular dresses. Peter will be launching his new collection in mid July, and there wil be an official opening of the new shop.

Miscellaneous shots of cheongsam

I know it has been more than two weeks since my last post before Chinese New Year. There was an incident which caused much exhaustion and stress, and I had no time nor inclination to put up anything in my blog. In fact, for the first time, I didn’t celebrate CNY. Anyway I thought I would put up a short post on the cheongsam shots I had taken prior to CNY.

Also, I want to say that I had a closer look at the Allure cheongsam (featured in my post “Spring Cheongsams at Isetan Scotts”). I didn’t look closely at the outer seams then as I only focused on the inner seams. The workmanship (along the zip) is shoddy, and even the alteration seamstress also told me that the fabric quality is not up to par. I should have learned to be careful of discounts, but the word “Sale” got the better of me. Even at discounted price, I wouldn’t have accepted  it if I had inspected it closely.

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Anyway, here are the cheongsam from various boutiques.

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Love & Bravery

 

Pure Glamour

 

 

Yacht21

 

Xi boutique

 

 

Miz Apparels

 

Studio 55

 

 

Hana

 

The many cheongsam looks at Studio 55

It has been a year since I last featured Peter Kor’s cheongsams, sold at his boutique, Studio 55, located at Purvis Street. I’ve been meaning to check them out again last year, but somehow never got to it. Finally I was able to do so last Monday, and I’m glad I did. The collection showcases how the cheongsam has moved forward through Peter’s creativity.

For this Chinese New Year, Peter is using stretchy silk fabric for his dresses, which can be hand washed. There are also cotton dresses, as well as a couple of them in really luxurious French cotton fabrics. The chinoiserie prints are also featured here, and I must say the one seen below has a very interesting 3D effect.

Here we have a classic cheongsam in a different sort of floral print:  European wild flowers.

A few months ago, I was thinking of the different ways to modernise the cheongsam, and the idea of a wrapped dress popped into mind.  Voila! Peter has that materialised in his designs below. (No, I didn’t give him the idea, in fact I didn’t follow up on it.)


Check out the tassel belt!

Another interesting modern design with a peek-a-boo chest opening and gathers in the front skirt.

   

A beautiful batik-print dress with peplum, which also comes with a chest slit.
   

Here’s a design that plays on the gathers on a flamenco dress, something Peter had done last year.

   

The stretch cotton cheongsam below may look simple, but the interesting geometrical print makes it different from the regular classic cut. This is what I like about Peter’s designs – the unusual prints. 

When I first spotted this elbow sleeved dress, I didn’t think much of it. But on further looks, it grows on me. I returned to the boutique yesterday hoping to try it, but it’s sold out!
  

We now come to dresses made using French cotton/polyamide fabrics. The material is rather heavy and it exudes luxurious quality. A simple style is suffice to show off its beauty.

I especially love this deep purple/maroon dress. It is really beautiful!
   

The prices of the stretch silk and cotton dresses are at S$299,while the dresses in French fabrics are at S$499. During this period leading to CNY, Studio 55 has pop-up stores at both Isetan Scotts and Metro Paragon. So if you are interested in the designs, you can check out the selections at Orchard road as well. 

Do note that Peter’s dresses tend to run on the small side. Even for my slim physique, I have difficulty fitting into a size 36 (small), as it is rather tight at the waist. I have to go for size 38, and even then the waist has to loosen a little. The boutique does offer alteration service to customers. 

The Cheongsam Grandmaster – Peter Kor

I have written about Peter Kor of Studio 55 in a previous post “The Search For Cheongsams Continues …” dated 23 Aug 2014, but I didn’t include any pictures then. When I went to see him before the Chinese New Year to make the request for photos, I was a little surprised to learn that he had read the post though I didn’t  give him my blog name. It turns out to be a good thing, as he readily agreed to my request.

Studio 55 is located at 15 Purvis street in a non-descript shop which is not easy to spot. (It is opposite Killiney coffee joint by the way) In the day time, the surrounding area can get really warm with so much concrete around and hardly any greenery. But inside the cool and spacious boutique, it was relaxing and soothing, and this makes a pleasant shopping experience.

Peter is the owner and designer at Studio 55, and he has two seamstresses working for him. He is a person who speaks his mind. He admitted during the short chat that he had self doubts sometimes, and for a long tine, he wondered if he was truly creative. It was only recently that he finally affirmed it to himself. He is also one who strives for perfection. He likes the challenge of tackling difficult designs, and so he finds that the modern cheongsam with flare skirt is not particularly interesting.

I used to think that Shanghai Tang has the most sophisticated cheongsam collections, but after seeing those from Peter and Laichan, I have to say the latters’ collections are just as good, and in terms of craftsmanship, an edge over ST. Case in point in this stylish red linen dress with amazing nipped-in details on the tummy, which is really gorgeous. The  lace covering the collar and running along the hemline makes the dress really elegant as well. It also comes in purple color, which I saw a customer trying it on and I must say she looked fabulous. (The dress is S$499 if my memory serves me right.)
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Look at the details that go into the underside!
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An amazing cheongsam with kimono print and an  interesting tie on the left waist.
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Another version of the dress with lace covering the collar and the right shoulder.
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The interesting waist tie.
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The lace covered collar.
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The skilled tailoring seen in the underside seam.
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A different version of the floral printed cheongsam dress, with lace on the  collar and right shoulder.
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The same design comes in a beautiful blue floral print as well.
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Peter wanted to challenge the notion that horizontal lines make you fat, and so created this interesting cheongsam which he described as looking like a rugby shirt.
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There is also the vertical stripey dress, which is good for work wear.
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The dresses, though not unique, come only in one piece of small, medium and large each. So yoi can say they are rather exclusive.

I have sent Peter the list of Q&A (like the one sent to Laichan), but he was too busy to answer them except for one question. In a few articles on him, he was mentioned to be deeply influenced by the famous Japanese designers, such as Issey Miyaki.  So I asked if his cheongsams were also influenced by them and they were not.

A search for cheongsams continues…

…at Studio 55 where designer, Peter Kor, creates comfortable and stylish cheongsams with premium cotton fabric from Japan.

I went to the boutique last week, which is located at 15 Purvis Street. For your  info, it’s across the road from Ya Kun coffee joint. That was what Peter told me when I couldn’t find it, and with this landmark guide, it became easy.

Studio 55 has a rather classy decor of simple but elegant Chinese furniture, with soothing operatic music playing in the background. It is also rather spacious, and because I was the only “customer” there, the place feels rather serene. There is a curtain at the back of the shop and I could hear the sewing machine operating behind it. Currently, the clothes are on sale, going for 50% off, and some even at 70% off.

Peter is a very slender man in his 50’s, with greying short hair, glasses, and a slouch. He speaks well, in a gentle manner, and rather friendly too. When he found out I was looking for cheongsams, he offered to show me the designs available. (A note here: I didn’t take any photos because it didn’t seem appropriate to do so inside the shop, and Peter is a nice guy. But I guess I could have asked.)

There are not many cheongsams since it is the end of the “season”. A couple of the dresses are in the straight cut form with plain prints. Then there is one that has a flamenco hemline which I really like. Peter told me he wants to make an interesting design, and I have to admit it it, and unique as well. There is a dress (last piece) in a beautiful sapphire blue color that has puffed sleeves with front key – hole opening. I was told that the color may look aging, but it is popular with the younger ladies who make the dress looks vibrant. In fact it was designed for the Chinese New Year this year.

I thought the fabrics of the cheongsams are silk, but turned out they are Japanese premium cotton. Seriously, they are of such high quality that they can passed off as silk. I asked Peter why he opted for cotton instead, and he explained that it is a fabric that is more comfortable for our humid climate, and also easy on cleaning. Unlike silk, cotton can be hand washed and there is the option of saving on the dry cleaning cost.

Peter is insistent on using only Japanese premium cotton fabrics for his dresses; in fact the blue colored fabric mentioned above is a kimono print. With the summer season drawing to a close soon, the autumn/winter season will see a change in prints with beautiful and rich patterns. Peter is already planning his next collections which will be available starting next month.

I noticed that all the dresses have hidden back zip, and there are only faux buttons in front. Peter explained that he had in mind the busy working women, who cannot afford too much time getting dressed in the morning. The dress is easier than separates, especially with just a zip. I have to admit this is true. Even since I had Buddy, I hardly put on separates (except on Friday when sometimes I will wear tights, also easy to put on). I rather have dresses, so that I don’t have to wreck my brain on what to wear. In fact when I’m running short of time, I’ll grab a cheongsam with back zip. Those with multiple fabric buttons are reserved only for days when I have extra minutes to spare, which is not often, but luckily I don’t have many such dresses.

Peter said that with separates, there’s a risk of pairing mistakes like clashing prints, which would make you look like a fashion disaster. He expressed dismay at the attires of some younger ladies who wear totally inappropriate outfits to work, like micro-mini skirt, and low cut tops, which look more club wear than work wear, and wondered why the companies tolerated it. I have to agree with him; I have raised my eyebrows at some women at Raffles Place. The hot weather here is no excuse for dressing like a night club hostess. I guess their bosses are men and enjoy ogling at them.

Our conversation moved on to a pertinent part of the cheongsam: the collar. In this respect, Peter is a traditionalist, like me he believes that the high collar is the essence of the cheongsam. So he insists on the minimum length of  1.75″ or about 4.5cm. In fact his preference is 2″ or 5cm. Some customers asked if he could reduce the collar length and he declined. He feels that with the high collar, the wearer is then made to straighten her back with the neck held up. (I can attest to this. When I wear a high-collared cheongsam, that is what I do automatically.) 

The cheongsam looks best on a woman with the right posture, and slouching is a big no-no. So the high collar does enable the posture needed to make the woman looks good in the dress. Short collar will just make it looks stunted, and worse, if the wearer slouches. In fact, I personally think a high-collared cheongsam makes the lady looks more elegant and regal, though some might argue it is not comfortable. But Peter will not back down. He  told his customers that they either accept it, or they can forget about getting the dress. He will not compromise.

Peter also took the chance to show me a red cheongsam with a luxurious red lace overlay. The lace is not monotonous, unlike many I saw, with a 3D pattern on it. Peter is experimenting with interesting fabrics and prints like gingham. He has also used kimono fabrics but found them hard to handle because they come in 14″ width panel. Basically you have to sew the blocks together to make the dress (which was described in The Lady General’s website on the making of the kimono fabric cheongsams). The problem also is that the fabric can be rather stiff, like brocade, and doesn’t drape well on the body. Peter then showed me a beautiful deep gold jacket using a Chinoiserie brocade, saying that the fabric is better used for the jacket instead.

I think I must have spent at least half an hour chatting with Peter, and it was really enjoyable talking to him. I will like to return next month to check out the new designs, especially the prints. By the way, before I forget, the dresses are not very expensive, the prices hovering at around S$300, or slightly more for lace cheongsam. Peter only make each piece in a couple of sizes.