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Published: Saturday January 25, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday January 25, 2014 MYT 8:44:31 AM

Bringing back Old Shanghai, designer brings back classic glamour

"Edgy-looking cheongsams, perfect for young ladies

"Edgy-looking cheongsams, perfect for young ladies

SHANGHAI in the 1920s and 30s were considered Old Shanghai, when Chinese clothing was influenced by Western designs.

It was the time when traditional Chinese wear was glamorous and stylish for both men and women.

The Old Shanghai era refers to Shanghai in the prime years of music, literature and Chinese culture with Western influences. The “Shanghainese” women back then were dressed in contemporary cheongsam adorned with thick furs or shawls while the men wore modern samfu with western hats and thick long coats.

Old Shanghai portrays the rich Chinese heritage culture mixed with the Western culture of modernisation.

This Chinese New Year, Malaysian designer Kenneth Hoong presents a unique line of traditional clothing for women which embodies the unique allure of Old Shanghai.

Hoong’s collection amazed audiences at Sungei Wang Plaza recently as he showcased exclusive creations and designs of never-before-seen cheongsam and qi pao.

The 24 uniquely designed cheongsam and qi pao were paired together with interesting traditional headgear and accessories.

The attire presented were created based on the shopping mall’s theme of “Old Shanghai Springtime Splendour” which refers to the cosmopolitan golden era of metropolitan Shanghai.

“The idea of incorporating other local heritage and culture’s art graphics into the design defines the rich culture that we have in Malaysia. This is something that you can only get here in Malaysia,” said Hoong.

He used materials such as Thai silk, cotton king, embroidery, sequins and interestingly, batik, saree and songket motifs to produce the apparel.

He added that items from foreign cultures such as French lace, British ribbons and buttons, Portuguese cloth, Japanese kimono motifs and Tibetan fabric have been utilised as well.

Hoong said the inclusion of design influences from many cultures reflects the impact of foreign cultures on Old Shanghai when colonisation took place.

Another popular combination is the usage of fur which is famously adorned by the women folk of Old Shanghai to depict their femininity and status in society.

When producing the clothing, quality of fabric and fine details were part of Hoong’s criteria. The whole idea was to produce a variety of oriental, elegant and multi-cultural wear yet at the same time maintain the quality standard of Malaysian clothing, which is comfortable, easy to put on and suitable for any occasion.

“Ninety-five percent of the cheongsam are focused on flashy red and gold colours and adorned with carefully sewn sequins and embroidery. Dragons and the phoenix are the two popular designs on cheongsam as they symbolise love and togetherness,” Hoong said.

Some of the more memorable designs are the sequined floor-sweeping white cheongsam and kimono-inspired cheongsam. Accessories such as the peacock feather fan was beautifully made and paired with a simple yet beautiful blue cheongsam.

Together with his team from Butterfly Studio, Hoong presented not only fascinating Chinese culture but also the rich culture of Malaysia through his interesting designs.

Kampar-born Hoong has 20 years of experience in the fashion industry. Butterfly Studio caters to classic and elegant traditional Chinese wear.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Women, Central Region, Community, Events, fashion, kenneth hoong, sungei wang plaza, chinese new year, cheongsam and qi paos

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