How The Current Traditional Cheongsam Incorporates Historical Influences

2259 WordsSep 4, 201610 Pages
Evaluate How the Current Traditional Cheongsam Incorporates Historical Influences Background In China, a cheongsam is an elegant ethnic one-piece women’s dress. There are four main elements to a cheongsam that define and distinguish it from a western dress; the cheongsam has an asymmetrical front opening, with the front flap overlapping the right; piping, bias tape or trimmings around the edges; a high mandarin collar; and frog closures that traditionally fastens the garment along the collarbone, under the arm and down the right hand side of the body. Another distinction is that a custom made cheongsam requires more measurements than a western dress; at least 24 measurements to be taken by a tailor. In some custom made stores, tailors will take measurements 36 times and will reserve extra fabric to accommodate and future body changes. The many measures required for the garment ensures that the cheongsam is form-fitting to flatter the wearer’s figure. To give the three-dimensional illusion of the cheongsam, tailors utilise an iron in a push and pull motion to ensure that the fabric fits perfectly around the figure. The iconic cheongsam that is internationally recognised as a symbol of China, was made popular by Shanghainese socialites in the early 1920s. Original cheongsams were mainly composed of silk or lace and are significantly different in style to the contemporary ones. Today almost all fabrics can be used to create a cheongsam; materials such as cotton, satin, blends,
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