Oriental Cheongsam also knew as ‘Qipao’ is the conventional Chinese costume having its origin from popular China’s Manchu Nationality. The term ‘Qipao’ has been translated from a Chinese word meaning ‘Banner Dress’. This traditional outfit comes in a variety of designs and possesses some unique elements which make it stand out from the crowd.
During the reign of Ching, the Manchu people from the northern part of China were ruling the country. Amongst these people, a group was organized known as Banner people and from here the name ‘Banner Dress’ has been derived. The women usually wore one-piece dresses and thus, the traditional name ‘Qipao’ or ‘Banner Dress’ came into existence. Over time it became popular, especially for the ladies belonging to the royal family of the Qing Dynasty. Earlier, the traditional Qipao was nothing but a baggy dress with loose fitting, covering a woman’s entire body from neck to toes.
Change in the Cheongsam/Qipao Style
Later, Cheongsam/Qipao underwent a change because of the influence of the Western style as well as Beijing style. The modern styled Cheongsam was originally developed at Shanghai being fitted to the curves of women’s body with high slits on the sides, back or front. The cuff of the dress became narrower with the additional detailing of lace. The length of the dress also became shorter which revealed the beauty of one’s body shape. Two decades down, around 1940s, Cheongsam was designed in a variety of styles and was available in multiple fabrics. Then the collar design changed to high neck and some with no collars at all; sleeveless Cheongsam also came into existence with bell sleeves, short and three-quarter sleeves. All these new incorporations in the design structure made this traditional dress more popular, especially among the high-level society class of people.
Considering the business field, Cheongsam plays a significant role where it is considered as one formal dress code for women. Waitresses at Chinese restaurants are often seen wearing a dress with closed collar, high slits, medium or full sleeves, long foot length. Generally, the fabric is of satin or silk incorporated with Chinese design structures. Airlines companies in China and Taiwan like China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Hainan Airlines also have air-hostesses wearing similar styled Cheongsam as their duty uniforms.
In modern times, Chinese brides select Cheongsam as their typical wedding attire, not only because of the Chinese culture but mainly because of the elegance and beauty that the Cheongsam designs hold. Usually, red-colored Cheongsam is worn by these brides with golden dragon embroideries and phoenix symbols related to the beliefs of the Chinese people, bringing in great luck for the wedding couple. Also, during Chinese New Year festival, ladies will wear such Cheongsams considering it as a formal and sometimes informal dress code.
The everlasting elegance that the Cheongsam is comprised of is the main reason which led to the growth of Oriental Cheongsam. The exceptional features of this dressing style have been accepted by the people worldwide and are greatly in vogue now. A number of Western designers incorporate few features of the Cheongsam into their designs because of its uniqueness. The most important thing to do while purchasing a Cheongsam is to look for the right one which will perfectly glide onto one’s body, thereby enhancing their figure in the best possible way.