Dressing for CNY in the 852-Qipaos (Cheongsam)

Festival season is extended this year with the CNY in January. Every self-respecting Chinese (and even some foreigners) want to be dressed to the 'T' for the family Luncheon/gathering in traditional attire.

As a woman, we thought about the forgotten classy but sexy Icon of Hong Kong celebrations. The Qipao.

On this occasion we met up with Ranee_K deigner of her own fashion label “ranee_k”, who make modern Qipaos.

So, why shop for qipao (cheongsam) in 852 when you can get the same for a fraction of the price across the border in +86 or on Taobao?

Well, for those who have a discerning eye for quality and need for convenience, Hong Kong is a preferred option because qipaos need research and several fittings to be just right. For those who made a modern twist or East-West fusion in their qipaos to maximize the number of wears from office to night from CNY to day to day, Hong Kong qipao shops are also a good option.

Pic 1 & Pic 2- Modern qipaos by Ranee K available in Yue Wah Department Store and in her workshop, website: https://www.ranee-k.com/ taking you from day to night.]

Having compared the qipaos available in Shanghai and Hong Kong, there is more variety of fabrics and price points in Shanghai but Hong Kong offers more design elements and easier communication with the shopkeeper or tailors to make your qipao just right.

My savvy tip: Get excellent fabric in Shanghai then have it tailored into a qipao in Hong Kong so that the 3 or more fittings can fit like a glove to your body.

Pic 3 and Pic 4- Qipaos in Yue Wah by local designers

In Hong Kong, the main qipao shops for getting off-the-rack or tailor-made qipaos or even East-West fusion qipaos are mainly located in Sheung Wan, Central and Yau Ma Tei, all within 30 minutes by MTR so it’s convenient to compare prices, quality and style amongst the different shops.

For quality off-the rack qipaos to cater to most budgets, have a browse in Yue Hwa Department Store in Yau Ma Tei. They mixed up HK local designer pieces with traditional pieces at a price range of HK$1,500-3000. There are even some Chinese handmade embroidery jackets reminscient of Chinese empress movies but those are pricey. There are a range of sizes available and also children’s cheongsam perfect for Chinese New Year school events or bai nian 拜年 i.e. visiting relatives and friends for lai see and gatherings. Price range is around HK$300 up for children’s pure silk cheongsam which is suitable for passing on to their next sibling or cousin when kids outgrow their clothes.

Pic 5 and Pic 6-Cheongsam CNY clothing for kids in Li Yuen Street East and Li Yuen Street West, Central on the left and cheongsam CNY clothing for kids in Yue Wah Department Store

For those with larger wallets, head over to the Chinese Arts & Crafts store in Central or Wanchai, where a qipao costs HK$2000 up. To match as a family, there are some luxurious men’s kung fu clothes. There are some styles- especially the traditional Chinese tops which suitable for the office or everyday.

Pic 7, Pic 8 and Pic 9- Chinese fabric buttons twisted by hand in qipao tailor shops. Each button represents a different Chinese flower with different symbolism for good luck or fortune.]

Brides-to-be in Hong Kong and abroad visit the traditional tailor-made qipao shops at Mee Wah Qipao or Linva Fashion Company. Mee Wah Qipao boasts of having Shanghai tailors who fled China in the Cultural Revolution are its in-house tailors. Both have tailored for Miss Hong Kong pageants and celebrities through the years. The reason brides-to-be and their mothers go to tailor-made qipao shops to have their qipaos made for their big day is that the qipaos can later be cut short or made to a looser fit at no extra cost for other banquets or cocktails after the big day. It’s a good trip down memory lane when your closet is too full to keep a wedding dress and there is little you can upcycle it for.

Add Pic 10- Matching CNY outfits for the family courtesy of Ranee K.

So don’t be shy-try on some Chinese traditional clothing for Chinese New Year or your next party-it’s a perk of living in the 852.

List of Shops:

1. Yue Wah Department Store, Address: 301-309 Nathan Rd, Jordan, Hong Kong, website: http://www.yuehwa.com/en-us . Local designer qipaos from LoomLoop, Mary Yu, Ming Ming, Ranee-K and Yi-Ming available.

2. Chinese Arts and Crafts, Address: G/F, Hip Shing Hong Centre, 55 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, website: http://www.cachk.com

3. Mee Wah Qipao, Address: No. 76 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

4. Linva Fashion Company, Address: G/F, 38 Cochrane Street, Central, Hong Kong

Special thanks to Ranee K for granting us an interview about qipao.

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