Preliminary Garment Exploration: The Chinese Cheongsam/ Qipao Dress. Essay Sample
The Cheongsam is a one-piece dress for women from China. It is a stylish body hugging dress. The often tight fitting qipao (chipao) or cheongsam dress that we know today was developed in the city of Shanghai and made fashionable by upper-class women and the socialites in the 1920s.The dress has a slit skirt and a mandarin collar. The original version of this dress was baggy and wide. It also featured a straight skirt and a high neck and covered the entire woman’s body with the exception of her hands, head, and toes. It was traditionally made using silk with intricate embroidery featured on the dress. The modern versions of the dress that are worn today can trace their roots to the original versions that were made in Shanghai in the 1920s. The modern qipao is a form-fitting, one-piece, floor length dress that features a high slit on both or one of its sides. Some variants of the dress may be sleeveless or have sleeves that are made from a wide variety of materials.
The dress has beautiful embroidery. It may also have flower decorations in various colors depending on the taste of the wearer. Other dresses may not contain the flowery decorations. They can be of a single color for wearers who want to bring out a look of simplicity. The dress was initially made of silk. The silk dress featured flowers or was simply made of a single color material depending on the taste of the wearer.
As far as formal analysis is concerned, the dress also features a full-color mandarin and a slit. The dress accentuates the figures of women. The basic design of the dress has been changing as alongside western fashions. The changes have introduced bell-like sleeves, high-necked sleeveless dresses and a black lace that froths at the hem in the form of a ball gown. The fashion of the dress has remained popular in the city of Hong Kong.
The classic Chinese women dress combines the unique elements of nature with the elegance of the beautiful Chinese tradition. Many people have often have agreed that the dress is one of the most versatile costumes in the world today. The dress can be short or long, some with medium, full, short or even without sleeves at all. These variations are meant to suit an individual taste, weather conditions or a particular occasion. The dress displays a Chinese woman’s softness, modesty, and beauty. Just like the Chinese women’s temperament, the Cheongsam is gentle and elegant. The dresses’ long-standing serenity and elegance are the key factor that makes wearers of the dress look fascinating. A mature woman wearing the dress can display her refined, graceful manner. The dress has been observed to vary with the figure of the woman. A true testament to the dresses' beauty of the dress is that the dress does not require the wearer to add beauty or pep up her looks by using adornments or accessories like belts and scarves. The dress is carefully designed to display and show the soft form of the female race. The dress also creates a great illusion of very soft slender legs. The overall picture that is displayed by the dress is sexy and very practical. Because of the charm that the dress carries, the dress has been given the imagery of an extremely beautiful flower in the middle of a colorful fashion scene. Another quality that makes the dress great is the fact that it is made of different materials, and it can be worn on formal or casual occasions. The dress creates an impression of a quiet and simple charm, attraction, and elegance. With its distinctive Chinese features, the dress is enjoying a tremendously growing popularity. The popularity has gone international in the lucrative world of high fashion.
The design of the dress makes the wearer look like one who is deeply aware of what she is wearing. Her taste as far as dressing is concerned is excellent, and she comes out as an intelligent individual who is fully aware of her surroundings and what people think of her. The mandarin collar and the slit skirt are two features of the dress that send out two clear messages about the dress. The slit brings out the wearer as being sexy while the mandarin brings out a sense of decency. These are intelligent combinations for the dress.
The emotional responses that the dress sparks from people are intense. From an innocent eye, the response that is sparked is that of a modest woman who is bringing out the soft nature of a woman. From a lustful man’s eye, the dress may spark an intense want of physical interaction with the wearer of the dress. When worn for official functions, the emotional responses provoked by the dress are responses to dress the wearer. The dress commands respect.
Hypothesis and questions
The beauty in clothes is that they are an external manifestation of human culture. Cheosang dress does the same, and it is easy to note that the dress has through the times tried to maintain the “S” curve. This brings up a question; why do women’s clothes tend to focus on their body shape especially their curvy parts? What reflection do women want to show by wearing such clothes? What is the central message hidden in the shape “S” among women? Cheosang dress is designed in such a way that is has clean lines; it is smooth, subtle and appears graceful. Why does the dress expose some parts of the women body while struggling to hide other parts? Why is the dress designed so that it is fitting and not wide? It can be quickly noted that Cheosang dress focuses on the human bodylines performance. Why is it that the dress is styled such that there is a change in the waist, hip status, and the chest? Why do modern tend to designers emphasize on the female body fit curves while in the same context they are trying to sweep away the pretense that was brought by the Qing dynasty Wind? Cheosang dress is designed such that it has laced trimmings; what is the importance of the lace trimmings all around the dress?Developing a program of research Clothes are the best form of external manifestation of one’s culture. The clothing style will indicate the cultural content of any specific culture, the color of the clothes is just an extension. Cheosang dress in its development process did not ignore the cultural bit and it is important to note that the designers have emphasized on various factors that reflect its origin from Chinese culture. The traditional Chinese dress has been designed in a way that it emphasizes on the “S” curve found in women; this is an important cultural way of reflecting the style of natural minimalist clothing. Such a design emphasizes on the Chinese cultural values of quality, dignity, and elegance. The modern Cheosang dress has been modified slightly; it is more of a representation of worldwide culture while at the same time maintaining its oriental charm and Chinese look. The modern dress is modeled in three dimensions both for the female body and for a wider variety of people who have general aesthetic tendencies. The clean lines and the smooth, graceful look created by the modern Cheosang dress inclines towards cultural line. The dress is made in such a way that it leaves some part of the woman body in the “open” while paying attention to other parts, which must be covered in accordance with most cultures. This design of balancing between the covered and bare parts is considered culturally attractive since the parts such as women’s leg are left uncovered thereby spreading the message of natural beauty, so that it is universally accepted by all cultures. The main issue is that the cloth is recognized in many cultures as possible, for instance Cheosang dress due to the perfect blending of modern and traditional cultures is accepted as far as United States of America . In this way, Cheosang dress represents the Chinese culture worldwide, reflecting both national and traditional spirit in such a way that it leads alone in this era of rapid developments in fashion and design.
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Lewandowski, Elizabeth J. 2011. The complete costume dictionary. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, Inc.
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