This striped pink qipao was inspired by In the Mood for Love. It is made from silk taffeta, sleeveless, with a high collar, and I think just perfect as a wedding guest dress in the summer.
I had this qipao (cheongsam) made in 2012, after seeing the striped pink material at the Shanghai south bund fabric market. Somehow it immediately reminded me of In the Mood for Love（花樣年華／花样年华）, and the decision to make a qipao out of it was a rather easy one after that.
It wasn’t until after I got home and looked through the actual list of dresses from the film that I realized, funnily enough, that there isn’t a particular dress from the film that looks like this. I was simply reminded of the film by the silk taffeta’s texture and sheen, and of course the stripes.
Memories of In the Mood for Love
For those of you who have seen my post on the dresses from In the Mood for Love, you’ll know that besides florals, stripes and checks feature prominently in Maggie Cheung’s qipaos. And there is also that olive dress – dress no. 8, made of a very luminous silk taffeta – that always fascinated me. It’s a fabric that I would have expected to see more in an old English palace lady suit, not on a chic, svelte qipao. I remember being quite astounded by the choice of fabric. I couldn’t quite understand it, but it was beautiful nevertheless.
So a long story short, it turns out this dress was not literally inspired by In the Mood for Love, but rather my memory of the film. And what a funny thing memory is… never quite accurate, swayed and biased by snippets that make a deep impression , and oh-so-idiosyncratic.
Well a long rant over, hope you enjoy the dress.
My pink striped qipao
This dress is a light pastel pink, with white, beige and bright blue accent stripes, and an all over silver sheen which makes it rather difficult to photograph. As the material is already quite animated, I opted for toned down details. The piping is a plain pink, and the pankous (traditional Chinese knot buttons) are made from the same material as the dress itself.
The collar is a high, 2.5 inch collar, and this was very literally inspired by In the Mood for Love. (If I haven’t mentioned it already, I LOVE the high, stiff collars in the film.)
Pankous run the full length of the dress, and this is quite a clear point of differentiation from the film. Pankous had fallen out of popularity by the 1960s in Hong Kong, the setting of the film, so all of its dresses had zippers and press studs, which makes for an even slimmer fit.
Once I had this qipao made, I began to understand the choices of Mrs Chan (Maggie Cheung’s character name in the film) a little bit more. The silhouette of the qipao is very feminine, but the stripes give it just that lift of masculinity. And the choice of silk taffeta – a little bit dressy but not over the top. I think this dress would be just perfect as a wedding guest dress in the summer.