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About the Collection

In Hong Kong, qipao is more commonly known as Cheongsam, which carries a distinct Hong Kong flavour. With its well-defined lines and myriad designs, the cheongsam combines light and soft fabric with a tight-fitting cut to show off the beauty of the female silhouette and highlight a woman’s graceful manners and elegant charm.

It was in the 1920s that the cheongsam first became all the rage, as students, teachers, ladies from wealthy families, singers and movie stars in Hong Kong began wearing the dress, and the vogue then experienced a surge in the 1940s and 1950s after a large number of tailors from Shanghai migrated to Hong Kong. As the tradition of wearing the cheongsam has been passed from generation to generation, the garment has undergone several changes. It remains hugely popular in Hong Kong today and continues to be worn by many women to important occasions.

The exhibition entitled “A Century of Fashion: Hong Kong Cheongsam Story” held by the Hong Kong Museum of History showcases cheongsams and relevant exhibits, including a range of cheongsam from the late Qing and early Republican period to the present day. The exhibits also include valuable artefacts related to the garment’s history in Hong Kong, including a number of cheongsam tailoring tools, posters printed with images of stylish women dressed in cheongsams and invaluable historical photos and videos. Elegant cheongsam not only tells the story of how Hong Kong women grew up with this elegant dress, but also illustrates the changes in their status in particular and Hong Kong society in general.

This collection presents the contents and materials of the above exhibition to allow the general public to go over the rich story of Hong Kong cheongsam.