Cheongsam (Qipao), the classical Chinese dress comes from Shanghai in China. It’s typical Chinese national raiment. Cheongsam is praised as the eternal fashionable dress for Chinese women. It is bring forth the virtuousness, oomph, comeliness and elegance about Chinese modern women. It is like a wonderful flower in the Chinese colorful fashion scene because of its particular charm.
In the foretime, the collapsible of the clothes was made high and tight to keep warm. Cheongsam has incorporated these characters, not just for defending coldness but also for beauty. The collapsible of cheongsam generally takes the shape of a semicircle, the right and left sides of it being symmetrical, flattering the soft and slender neck of a woman. The collapsible of cheongsam is carefully made, especially the buttonhole loop on it, which serves as the finishing touch. We can’t help but admire the designers’ artistic miracle. The design of the front of cheongsam depicts the maturity of women properly; reminding people of the line of a Chinese poem “A garden full of the beauty of spring can not be prevented from being enjoyed.”
Cheongsam generally has two long sews at either side of the hem for convenient movement and display of the svelte legs of women. Unlike a mini-skirt, cheongsam can show Chinese women’s modesty, softness and beauty, like their intrinsic temperament. Cheongsams are elegant and gentle like other costumes ; the beauty of cheongsam comes first. Simplicity is one of its traits from the collar, loop, chest, waist and hips to the lower hem, and a cheongsam almost varies with a woman’s figure. It not only lays stress on the natural beauty of a female figure, but also makes women’s legs appear more slender. Mature women in cheongsams can show their graceful temperament.
Besides its simplicity, cheongsam provides designers with wide, creative space : some short, some long, with low, high, or even no collapsible at all. Practicality always goes with beauty. Cheongsams are suitable in both urban and country areas, its long-standing elegance and serenity making wearers fascinating.
When wearing cheongsam, women should pay more attention to the matching as whole; particularly middle-aged or elderly women should do so. Hairstyles, jewelry, socks and shoes should cooperated cheongsams properly in color and manner.
Today, with the development of the market economy in China, styles of fashions is as dazzling as the stars that the eye cannot take them all. As a result, people are often at a loosen what to choose when facing a mass of fashions. On the other hand, it is just a golden chance for Chinese national costumes to regain their popularity. Fashion culture has become a highlight of social culture, reflecting economic developments, social progress and educational level.
Cheongsam, the classical dress for Chinese women, combines the elaborate elegance of Chinese tradition with the only element of style. The high-necked, closed-collar, cheongsam with a loose chest, fitting waist, and the attractive slits, is one of the most useful costumes in the world.
However, it does not require the wearer to pep up the attention with accessories like scarf and belts. Designed to show off the natural softness of the female form, it also creates the illusion of slender legs. Another beauty of the cheongsam is that it is made of different materials and can be suit for either on casual or formal occasions.
In case, cheongsam creates an impression of simple and quiet charm, elegance and attraction. With distinctive Chinese character cheongsam enjoys a growing popular in the world of high fashion.
In Northern China such as Beijing, the word "cheongsam" is popular. Cheongsam means “long dress” entered the English vocabulary from Cantonese. Why is cheongsam pronounced as Cantonese? Because many Chinese living overseas are from Guangdong, westerners learn some Chinese words which weren’t appear in western countries. So they learnt this dress named cheongsam as Cantonese pronunciation, and also it is used in nowadays.
There is a legend about cheongsam. It goes that a young fisher girl lived by the Jingbo Lake. She was not only beautiful, but also smart and shrewdly. But when fishing, she often felt uncomfortable by her long and wide dress. Then an idea beat her : why not make a more useful dress for work ? She got down to sewing and produced a long button gown with sews, which enabled her to tuck in the front piece of her dress, thus making her job much easier. As a fisher girl, she had never dreamt that there was a great fortune would befall on her.
The young emperor who ruled China at that time had a dream in one night. In the dream, his dead father told him that a lovely female fisher in cheongsam by the Jingbo Lake would suitable to be his queen. After awakening from his deep sleep, the emperor sent his minister to look for her. And believe, there she was ! So she became the queen, bringing her cheongsam with her. Manchu (one of the ethnic minorities in northern China) women all followed suit and soon the cheongsam became popular.
We do not know whether the story is true or not. But one dress is certain. Before cheongsam, there is clothes came from the Manchu who grew out of ancient Nvzhen tribes. In the early 17th century, Nurhachi, a great political and military strategist, unified the various Nvzhen tribes and set up the Eight-banner System. Over the years, a collarless, tube-shaped gown was developed, which was worn by both men and women. That is the embryo of the cheongsam. The dress is called cheongsam in Chinese or translated as "banner gown" (qipao), for it came from the people who lived under the Banner System. Every expert considered that modern cheongsam was born in early 20th century, and became popular in 1930s. The 1920s was the jumping-off point of cheongsam’s fashion. And 1930s to 1950s was the top of cheongsam’s fashion. There were lots of famous women in Shanghai enjoyed this new type of dress, it soon became a fashion in Shanghai. Because of Shanghai’s repute in China, the Cheongsam became popular in all over China at once.