Category Archives: Fashion

Dong Liang



It was late autumn in Shanghai when I first checked out for myself the cutting edge concept store housed in a quaint three-storey lane house that Dong Liang is. A great store to explore if you are curious about emerging Chinese fashion designers. I was there for Beijing-based Central Saint Martins-schooled Vega Wang but ended up with a dress by Shanghai designer Ni Hua under her Miss Mean label instead. It was hard to leave the store empty-handed. I think my wallet ached a little.

栋梁 Dong Liang
No. 184 Fumin Lu (near Changle Lu), Jing’an district, Shanghai, P.R. China
+86 (21) 3469 6926

A qipao by any other name

Some memorable peeks from an exhibition I visited last year.


Caption courtesy of the exhibition:

This is a photograph of Manchurian women and Han women from the late Qing dynasty. Some are wearing a top longer than the typical Han blouse and one is wearing a shortened Manchurian gown, showing signs of assimilation in fashion.


Caption courtesy of the exhibition:

This is the uniform worn by students at the Peihua School for Women in Beijing, an elite Christian middle school. Chinese top matched with western pleated skirt, illustrating an attractive and fashionable style at the time.

First from the right is Phyllis Lin Whei-Yin, age 12, who would go on to become one of Republican China’s most talented women. Celebrated poet, Xu Zhimo was one of her many fervent admirers. She eventually married renowned architect, Liang Sicheng, the oldest son of Liang Qichao. Also in this photograph are Phyllis Lin Whei-Yin’s cousins.



I think I much prefer the original qipao, delicate yet dignified and more suited for daily wear.


Caption courtesy of the exhibition:

School girls in qipao at the Canton Christian College (later Lingnan University), Guangzhou, 1927.


Caption courtesy of the exhibition:

In 1929, the Nationalist government listed the qipao as a form of ceremonial attire. The Nationalist Government Gazette, Volume 143, 18 April 1929.



Art deco influences.



Caption courtesy of the exhibition:

Celebrated writer Eileen Chang (left) and her aunt, 1930s.

The exhibition featured Chang rather prominently and quoted extensively from her first work in English, Chinese Life and Fashions, a must read for anyone interested in the evolution of Chinese aesthetics against the backdrop of the birth of modern China.


Caption courtesy of the exhibition:

Family portrait, Hebei, 1931-1932.

This has to be my favorite photo of the lot. I love how the family looks so contemporary, not solely in the way they look but also in their candid expressions. The photo could have been taken just yesterday if not for their outfits.



Caption courtesy of the exhibition:

Liu Shaoqi’s wife Wang Guangmei on a diplomatic mission to Afghanistan in April 1966. Besides Wang Guangmei, other female members of the delegation are also wearing qipao.


Caption courtesy of the exhibition:

The illustrations on this set of teaching materials show that the images of teachers are linked to the qipao during the 1950s and 1960s.


Singapore, mentioned.


What I wore yesterday #4


I say jacket on shoulders. Who needs Balmain when your usual blazer gives you instant structured shoulders !

Style preferences aside, it’s actually a very practical/ refreshing option (outside of the typical cardigan and stole mix) this side of the hemisphere, where it’s air-conditioning at full mind-numbing blast indoors against the heat and humidity outside. Keeps me warm in the office yet light enough to skip out to lunch in without breaking out in yucky sweat.

Not to mention, the look does pleasantly bring to mind chivalrous men who offer jackets to their companions. A new twist to the term ‘boyfriend blazer’, and I think I like this definition a little more.

What I wore yesterday #3


Thunderstorm essentials: Ballet flats that are not afraid of the rain, shorts because I rather my bare legs get wet than don wet jeans, a water-proof bag and long sleeves to keep me warm.

Here’s what you get for spreading the gospel of The IT Crowd



Someone’s idea of a birthday present.

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