Qi Pao And In The Mood For Love

13Feb11

Amy Wood and Jonathan Crockett, by Thomas Crampton

Traditional qi pao in Hong Kong received a revamp in the 1960s that included high hemlines and textile patterns imported from the west, trends echoed at the departure party for our friend Amy Wood.

Hosted on the roof of our 1957 building and themed In The Mood For Love, guests made laudable efforts at recreating the era’s atmosphere – braving cold winds in skimpy dresses.

Ladies wore qi pao that were old, new and borrowed. Some were made by Maggie Cheung’s tailor for the film. Others were designed by my friend Fabien Blachier, the Head Textile designer at Shanghai Tang. Amy, pictured above with Jonathan Crockett, wore a Shanghai Tang outfit. (Photos by my husband, Thomas Crampton)

The range of qi pao fabric and color was striking – from lace, to silk and cotton. Many used more traditional Chinese-style fabric. My qi pao, found in Vietnam, has a sharp green western-style floral pattern. (Second from left in below photo)

Qi pao traditionally descended to the floor, but those at our party reflected risque trends of the 1960s, stopping above the knee. I have previously written more about the history of the qi pao.

Most men at the party chose classic 60s black suits with a thin tie, while a few wore exuberant all white suits. One guest, Marc Convery, grew a black pencil mustache to match Tony Leung.

It is interesting to compare the impact of a TV series versus a movie. While the imaginaire of In The Mood For Love is magical – steamy Hong Kong alleys and dim stairways – it seems a more limited theme than that of Mad Men, for example. (I will soon blog about a Mad Men-inspired event.)

Maggie Cheung’s striking elegance and demeanor In The Mood For Love brings to mind qi pao, but little else.

By contrast, Mad Men offers a range of styles and outfits across socio-economic classes in different roles, from the voluptuous secretary, to the 1960s housewife. The longer format of a TV series like Mad Men offers more opportunity to develop characters of depth and range.

In The Mood For Love Qi Pao

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4 Responses to “Qi Pao And In The Mood For Love”

  1. Seductive legs! My company also had a year end party with the theme Shanghai Shanghai it was lovely, alternative great outfit to traditional Vietnamese one. Love Shanghai Tang also!

    • Thank you Ann for your comment!
      Is the Shanghai theme common for Vietnamese parties?
      Although the qi pao is a outfit that beautifully espouses the woman’s figure, I personally find the Vietnamese ao dai more sensual. The ao dai suggest, but doesn’t reveal! I wish more Vietnamese women in the streets of Saigon or Hanoi wore more ao dai.
      My friend, Fabien, who designed all the prints for Shanghai Tang will be thrilled to hear your enthusiasm for the brand!

  2. Hi there I am so grateful I found your website, I really found you by accident, while I was searching on Digg
    for something else, Anyways I am here now and would
    just like to say many thanks for a fantastic post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the great job.


  1. 1 How To: Use Facebook to Make a Party Last - Thomas Crampton

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