Monday, January 10, 2011

Cheong sam

Chinese New Year is just around the corner (again), so perhaps it is time to whip out that cheong sam. Uncomfortable? So conventional?

Don't make up your mind just yet because the creators at Time Taken To Make A Dress have given the cheong sam a new meaning and a face-lift. 10 gorgeous makeovers.

The cheong sam was originally worn by socialites and upper-class women in Shanghai long ago. It earned its reputation as sexy and mysterious after the 1960 romantic comedy, The World of Suzie Wong, in which Nancy Kwan plays the sexy and kind prostitute that the male lead eventually falls for.
The cheong sam, with its high collar and figure hugging silhouette definitely does not promise any semblance of comfort. It doesn't help that the dress doesn't look alluring or flattering unless its tailored to fit you like a second skin, leaving no room (literally) for you to hide any physical flaws. The designs and prints in the market are far from appealing and none of us younger ones want to risk looking 'aunty'. Older women have little pockets of unsightly bulges to hide. It is no surprise then that many women have chosen to put the cheong sam aside despite its sexiness and femininity.

From the first glance at the collection, aptly named (tongue-in-cheek), Cheong Sam, I was blown away. Jade told thefword that they wanted to make the cheong sam more forgiving to women of all shapes and sizes. The handiwork that goes into each 'cheong sam' is impressive and beautiful. The concept of the cheong sam translated clearly as I inspected each dress. If you find that it's cheating to execute 'cheong sam' by designing a cheong sam collar on each dress, you'll be glad to know that this concept comes through in the tailoring, structure and fit of each dress. Which is, as I have explained, the essence of the cheong sam.


Personally, I absolutely love intricacy and detailing on clothing so this collection really catered to that. Jade actually took time to talk to Fal and I about the creations. We left feeling inspired and awe-struck. It is refreshing to see young designers taking bigger risks and putting so much love and passion into their work.

I was taken by the lantern detail on this red cheong sam.

P1010775 ed

More detailing:


Scallop sleeves! A hint of Valentino, no?


Vibrant colours used for the florals. A refreshing change from the muted earth tones so common nowadays.


Beaded by hand. What more need I say.


Due to the nature of their work, tailoring, designing and creating with their customers as their muse, they have created ten dresses that suit ten different personalities. For instance, goth, diva, conservative, flashy and quirky, just to name a few. I suggest you head down to 61 Niven Road yourself to take in the gorgeous cheong sams and draw some conclusions of your own on the ten personalities represented by the creations. If you're not sure, the designers will be more than happy to help you match a dress to your personality. I believe you'll want one of these cheong sams for your Chinese New Year and you'll look anything but 'aunty' or conventional.



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