Originally, cheongsam is Manchu bannermen's robe with broad sleeves, which
lasts for about 300 years without any change.
Everyone imitates Shanghainese, but never successful. Once they gets
improved, Shanghai has also changed a lot. This idiom prevailed in the
1930's and 1940's. And we can see the significant position of Shanghai
in the clothing field apparently.
During the 1930's and 1940's, Chinese modern times couture covered its
shining period, or rather, 1930's is the gorgeous pinnacle. That is to
say right at that time, cheongsam created the steady base and became the
typical delegate of the attire base. Quickly, cheongsam that is so-called
Chinese mandarin dress and formed the Shanghai style that is modern in
touch and Chinese in feel, came into fashion all over the country even
Cheongsam is fit to Chinese women's slim figure, especially the Shanghai
girls. The following four factors promote the fashion's generation and
1) At that time, foreign stuff entered Chinese market continuously;
2) There were fashion column in all big newspapers and magazines;
3) Fashionable dressed girl with monthly calendar was very popular;
4) Some department stores also held many fashion shows.
In Shanghai, the city of the fashion center of China, the all new style
popular in Occident was blew here in only three or four months. And other
areas in China all imitated Shanghai style as the template. The chance
of trade relations with overseas business became more frequent. For example,
there were a lot of dry goods, such as piece goods, camlet, woolen cloth
and etc, imported from Europe so that people's selection range and concept
was broaden and updated. Therefore, haipai cheongsam was the main stream
as the leading actor of haipai culture in the 1930's mandarin dress. In
addition, the life style was unique in Chinese history that the swelldom
and gentlefolk in Shanghai followed the fashion and enjoyed luxury. Since
they were in pursuit of western life ways such as swim, promenade, dance
and golf, cheongsam was ordered to be more slinky and formfitting. Influenced
by the occidental fashion, cheongsam got more slender and skintight with
high-kick pleat so as to match the delicate, fairily and lively perfect
figure of the 1930's.
Cheongsam of that time had two traits: combining Chinese with Western
style and varying a lot. Then, fine ladies had many different ways to
wear cheongsam: partial western style and matching the surcoat outside.
Partial western style meant that collar and sleeves were tailored according
to the western-style fashion's craft such as lapel, lotus-leaf-like sleeves,
furcal sleeves, flouncing lap and etc. These were nothing but the stars
or noblewomen's social and formal dress. The majority of women preferred
to wear cheongsam with western-style costume. For example, wearing the
western-style coat, fur coat, woolen coat and vest or tying scarf and
finery all can show brilliant and charming figure.
Moreover, slender cheongsam, with marcel, silk stockings, high-heeled
shoes, necklace, earbob and portfolio, was most fashionable toilette.
At the same time, womenĄŻs role of the society was fully stressed. Later,
there was a kind of improved cheongsam with many western tailoring-skills
in the couture market, which made cheongsam more fitted and applied. Cheongsam,
then, turned into Chinese national dress in unique style.
It can be said that without the neoteric Shanghai's opening to the world
or combination of the Chinese and occidental culture, there wouldn't be
the cheongsam with western style, then say nothing of the haipai cheongsam.