Enduring evolution through 200 years
We can trace the evolution of today's qipao from the Han Chinese tunic of the nineteenth century, the ao. Over time it became more and more fitted and sexy in its appearance, especially with the addition of a side slit up to the thigh.
The 1930s and 1940s were a golden time for the qipao.The fitted qipao was highly esteemed in Shanghai, and the garment then became even more figure-hugging, blending Western and Chinese styles, while at the same time being a symbol of chic Chinese glamour.
The Qipao made its biggest return in the 1980s, when it became the perfect evening dress for social functions, and brides chose it for wedding dresses. It was also used as a uniform worn mainly by female attendants and waitresses.
In 1999, Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai's highly acclaimed In the Mood for Love immortalized the qipao.