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Qipao a great way to look traditional, fabulous
By Wu Qian and He Liyao

QIPAO, which is also called cheongsam, is one of the most traditional dresses for Chinese women. It displays Chinese women’s modesty, softness and beauty. Like Chinese women’s temperament, qipao is elegant and gentle. As a female dress with distinctive Chinese features, qipao enjoys a growing popularity in the international world of high fashion.


Of all the dresses ever worn in Shanghai, none can match the iconic status of qipao. Numerous qipao stores, both for ready-to-wear and tailor-made, are available for your selection in town. Xintiandi, Tianzifang, Dongjiadu or Shiliupu Fabric Market, South Bund Fabric Market and Qibao old street are some of the places where qipao stores are congregated.

IDEALShanghai introduces you to three qipao-selling areas with distinguished features and selects some special shops, advising where to buy high-end qipao, where to get unique styles and the best place for a tailor-made qipao.

You can also make suits or some traditional Chinese clothes for other members of your family for the Chinese New Year.


Changle Road area: high-end with renowned brands

Changle Road, a quiet and pleasant street in the bustling downtown area, features many custom-tailored qipao stores. You can easily get an exquisite qipao, which is a must for an elegant and eternal Shanghai beauty, from one of Shanghai’s best qipao tailors. Many well-known qipao styles shown on movies and evening ceremonies are designed and tailor-made here.

The qipao shops here don’t claim to be the cheapest. Instead they stand by their reputation as the very best. Both ready-to-wear and customized items are available, with prices ranging from around 3,000 yuan (US$480) to more than 10,000 yuan.

Hanyi Qipao

It provides custom-tailoring service and you can have any style or design you fancy made here. Needlework is done by hand, not machine. Therefore is more time-consuming, but the result is more vivid. Visit HERE for more info.


Qin Yi

It gained international fame for making Chinese-style silk jackets for leaders attending the 2001 APEC Summit in Shanghai and for designing the qipao worn by Maggie Cheung in the film “In the Mood for Love.” It gets creative by blending traditional and modern styles. Needlework is done by both hand and machine. Visit HERE for more info.


Qipao Gallery

Initially, it only sells traditional-style qipao. Later it began to give them a modern twist by adopting more outlandish materials such as Thai silk, linen, satin, cashmere and velvet. Their clientele is a mix of local Chinese and expats. Click HERE for more info.

Shiliupu Fabric Market:Affordable price with wide varieties, choices

Located at the intersection of Zhonghua Road and Dongmen Road, Shiliupu Fabric Market occupies a three-story building with more than 350 vendors offering an astounding array of custom-made suits and almost any kind of fabric.

Since many stores are mainly doing wholesale business, prices here are lower than shops in shopping malls with famous brands.

A tailor-made qipao here charges 1,000 yuan to 2,000 yuan, depending on materials and needlework, while quality also varies from store to store. It’s wise to select carefully and make comparisons. Of course, don’t forget to bargain. Bring somebody who is familiar with the business, if possible.

Dingshang Apparel

It has a wide choice of fabrics from silk to damask, velvet, cashmere and cloth to meet different needs. Yin Aiping, the store owner and tailor, can create a qipao that fits you best, and offers free alteration afterward. Visit HERE for more info.


Feng He Xiang

It sells qipao in t radit ional styles and has its own design studio. The shop does a qipao wholesale business with several outlets in the city. Visit HERE for more info.


China Tangzhuang

It specializes in custom-made Tang jackets and qipao. A variety of fabrics can be selected for dresses made here. It takes about two weeks to have a tailor-made dress. Prices are between 1,000 yuan and 2,000 yuan. Visit HERE for more info.

Tianzifang:Boutiques in old Shanghai style

As a popular scenic spot for leisure in Shanghai, Tianzifang is a shikumen-style (stone-gate buildings) lane lined with art studios, craft shops, galleries, boutiques, exotic bars and cafes as well as several qipao stores full of old Shanghai style. Crossing the narrow lanes teeming with the unique array of shops and old architecture, visitors are taken back to a romantic, mythical old period in Shanghai, providing a contrast to the cosmopolitan city today. Thus a qipao with the combination of tradition and modernity seems an appropriate choice here. Qipao shops in Tianzifang usually are fashionable boutiques with unique designs. If you buy a qipao here, it’s unlikely you’ll come across someone wearing the same one.

Feel Shanghai

It is the first Chinese costume store in Tianzifang. Its name coincides with that of a famous novel written by Zhang Henshui and set in 1930s Shanghai. Its tailors are skilled in Chinese fashion making and use top-quality silk fabrics, most of them imported. Each designer’s collection is limited to 20 pieces. Visit HERE for more info.


Man Loulan

It is an exclusive qipao shop with several design patents. The name of Loulan is inspired by an oasis town in the desert on the ancient Si lk Road. It is a symbol of East-meets-West cultural fusion. Most of its qipao have been modified to suit today’s social functions. Visit HERE for more info.


2002 HaiShang

It is a trendy qipao store inside Tianzi fang. Xu Yul in, the chief designer, knows how to incorporate modern art elements into traditional qipao designs. Visit HERE for more info.


Click HERE for a quick guide to China’s traditional dress style.

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