Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Sunday Snag – Asian Influence

dragon and phoenix embroidered satin qípáo

This was quite the snag! No, really guys. I've always loved these dresses, but they have never been within my reach financially. But I snagged this one up for $30 on Ebay! The listing said that it was 1930s/40s, but I think that it is probably more of a late 50's or 1960's piece. Shoot, even if it isn't vintage at all, it's still a snag! The fabric is a beautiful silky satin in inky black and the multi colored embroidery runs from the top of the left shoulder, curving all the way down to the hem of the dress. The embroidery is highly detailed and depicts a dragon and a phoenix. I still can't quite believe I own this dress. It is just too beautiful and seems more a piece of art than clothing. 

Once again, I didn't wait until I had my hair or make-up done to snap a photo in it! I just can't help myself. I quickly unwrapped it and put it on. Truth be told, my husband had to help me put it on. This dress is my exact measurements, so it was a rather delicate business to secure it. There is a side metal zipper and hooks/snaps along the bust and neckline. Believe me, this is a "walk and sit pretty" dress, not a dancing dress! No big meals for me in this one! I haven't begun to consider accessories for this yet. I just threw on a pair of modern shoes for the photo. If any of you have suggestions, I'm all ears!

multi colored embroidery on silk satin Chinese body hugging dress and mandarin collar

This style of dress is called a cheongsam or qípáo and I gave you an example of a vintage woman wearing one on my Friday Photo Swoon this week. Although the originals are much older, the style most known today (like mine) started in China in the 1920s, but did not became popularized in the West until the 1950s and 60s. The version we are familiar with is a body hugging, knee-length or longer dress with side slits and mandarin collar. From what I can gather through sources like Wikipedia, the dragon and phoenix depicted on mine represent a male (dragon) and female (phoenix) yin and yang. Often, dragons and phoenixes were seen together in weddings symbolizing a blissful marriage. 

1950s to 1960s qípáo dress with dragon and phoenix detail and mandarin collar

satin pattern vintage qípáo dress photograph on Grace Kelly with furvintage photo of elizabeth taylor with 3rd husband in chinese qípáo dress
Here are two examples of a cheongsam worn by Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly in the 1950s. They are a very similar shape to mine and Taylor's looks to be in a dark colored satin material too. Kelly, always the impeccably elegant, has paired hers with a fur wrap, gloves, and a slicked back hairstyle. Taylor's version is much more casual and somewhat playful with her hair down and a minimal of accessories. I couldn't find specific photo credits, but you can find versions of these photos on Pinterest. I do know that the photo of Grace Kelly was at an awards show (possibly a Golden Globe?).                                                                                                          

Last Week's Sunday Snag:

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  1. So beautiful, I love this.

  2. This is truly a piece of art. Congratulations on the snag! Now make plans to dress and be seen in it! Your husband will remember you in this.


  3. Dress look so good on you! Jamie:)

  4. It's definitely a work of art—just gorgeous!

  5. That's a gorgeous dress!
    What about following each other through GFC and Bloglovin? Just let me know!


  6. This Asian inspired look is so beautiful, love the cheongsam on you!:) Looking great! Happy Sunday Jamie, kisses! xo

  7. Wow! GORGEOUS!

    The embroidery is spectacular and it really does fit you like a dream.

    I also really love how you've styled it here. The dress has so much going on I don't think you need to add much and the modern shoes make it contemporary.


  8. You look just amazing in that dress! Gorgeous, and I personally love the shoes you picked out to go with it.

    Hope you are enjoying this beautiful sunny weekend.

    Kate x
    Kate at Home

  9. Such beautiful. This kinda dress is rare now. It had been so long that you posted your picture (:

  10. That dress is simply fabulous! I trust you completely to make up your own story around it even if it's not vintage!

  11. Wow, what an extraordinary dress. What a wonderful addition to your closet.

  12. Such a gorgeous dress! It definitely looks like a work of art. it was so great to meet you last weekend :)


  13. muy guapa!!el vestido te qued genial

  14. What a beautiful dress ~ I love when you insert yourself into your blog!! Beauty!!

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  15. You look total glamour in this dress! This will be a fun dress to accessorize. If I come across an vintage Hollywood starlets in dresses like this, I'll be sure to clue you in. I think of May Wong when I see this dress so maybe old vintage photographs of her might help. I think a fan would be a great accessory or I wonder if you could find a Lotus flower hair accessory? Awesome deal on this dress!

  16. You rocked the cheongsam!! BEAUTIFUL!

  17. Wow, qipao dress from China. So beautiful.


  18. very cool!

    Hope you'll have time to stop also on my blog just HERE xx

    Have a nice day!! :)

  19. Oh its really gorgeous! Hope you have an amazing Monday

    Meghan Silva's Blog

  20. How stunning is that dress!!! And it looks amazing on you! x

  21. So awesome that you got it for $30. It looks fantastic on you!

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  23. I love this dress! Have you ever seen the 1960's movie "The World of Suzie Wong"? The actress Nancy Kwan, gets to wear some really lovely silk cheongsams in the film. I have always wanted one! Great find :)

  24. gorgeous dress!!

    XO Sahra


  26. gorgeous dress; you look beautiful! I was wondering if you could please do me a huge favor and click the link I just posted on my blog? It's to win tickets to a concert! It would help so much, thanks! :)

  27. You look so amazing in that dress! Such an incredible find! I just love the detailing!


  28. Incredibly eBay find, still reeling over that price! I wouldn't know how to style it unfortunately since Oriental just isn't my forte but perhaps go traditional with jade pieces? Regardless it looks gorgeous just as it is.


  29. It's gorgeous and you look great in it.

  30. What an amazingly unique dress! It's stunning!

  31. you look so lovely! I love these dresses as well, in addition to being full of history and very artistic I think that they are very flatering to any woman and make us all look good!

  32. I love this dress. It looks stunning on you and it fits well.

  33. Looking lovely in the Cheongsam!
    May x