The Cheongsam is a style of close-fitting dress that originated in 1920s Shanghai. It quickly became a fashion phenomenon that was adopted by movie stars and schoolgirls alike. In the 1950’s, the design and making of Cheongsam moved to Hong Kong where it was taken up by local craftsmen and evolved once again into a central part of Chinese Fashion, gravitating to western styles over time.

Cheongsam is one of the most fascinating Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) entities found in Hong Kong, and is a style adaptable for both men and women. Also known as qipao, Cheongsam grew out of the traditional Manchu costume introduced to China nation-wide after the establishment of the Qing dynasty. Cheongsam has been modified over generations and is continuously evolving in the creative hands of contemporary Hong Kong designers.

The exhibition utilizes photography and graphics to present the story of Cheongsam in both historical and contemporary fashion, highlighting the central role Hong Kong designers have played in keeping this important style alive and relevant for close to 100 years. Nine renowned Hong Kong fashion designers are featured, selected for their contributions to revitalizing this timeless cultural icon, reconfirming its relevance to the contemporary world of fashion in Hong Kong and across the Globe.

Image: Cheongsam by Mountain Yam; Photo: UN WORKSHOP