Malaysia is a multicultural country that boasts a uniquely vibrant tradition and heritage. When talking about traditions, beautiful traditional attire is definitely one of the first things that comes to mind. In conjunction with Merdeka, we look back and explore the story behind some of the traditional wear that we have in our country—starting from the Cheongsam.
As fellow Malaysians, we all know that the Cheongsam is a dress worn by Chinese women during festivities and special occasions, but do you really understand its roots? To deepen your knowledge of this beautiful piece of traditional clothing, we’ve tracked back to its origin to learn all there is to know about the Cheongsam.
For a quick cheat sheet, scroll down to read more:
Looking back at its origin…
Cheongsam is one of the classic representations of Chinese attire, created during the transition from ancient times to the modern. Traditionally known as the qipao in Mandarin, it’s no surprise that the garment originated in China. But did you know that it was first introduced in the 17th century during the Manchu rule?
The word qipao translates to banner gown, signifying its one-piece style dress. The original style was loose and A-lined, with long, full sleeves and was worn among high nobles in court. Its silhouette was a lot more modest than the cheongsam we’re used to seeing. The modern-fitted cheongsam we see today was first popularised by celebrities and socialites in Shanghai as early as the 1920s—possibly inspired by the roaring ’20s movement and flapper dresses.
Learning the categories…
This traditional Chinese garment spread throughout all regions of China and eventually, some continents designed variations of the dress with their own twist. Therefore, two types of Cheongsams were created, namely the Shanghai-style and Beijing-style Cheongsams.
The Shanghai style is considered to be