NEARLY 1,000 women in qipao — from little girls to senior ladies, Chinese to foreigners — paraded in Hangzhou last Friday at the debut of the international Hangzhou Global Qipao Festival, the first of its kind.
Qipao or cheongsam, the body-hugging one-piece dress, is considered a stylish and ideal expression of Chinese feminine charm.
The women dazzled the city as they walked along the old Grand Canal and the scenic West Lake.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Hannah Lund from the US, a master’s student at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, who volunteered as a translator at the event and also wore qipao.
“The ladies in qipao make it look so easy to be classy and move around, but after training class I realized that it is actually a lot of work and that you have to train to seem so refined.”
In New York, Madrid, London, Hamburg and Sydney — more women dressed up in silk qipao and showed up at various landmarks such as London’s Tower Bridge, and the Sydney Opera House.
Hangzhou is one of the birthplaces of silk and is known for its “feminine” qualities as reflected in its gentle and graceful rivers.
Hangzhou started producing silk around 5,000 years ago. It is therefore not difficult to find a place that sells or makes qipao.
The event is part of the Hangzhou Tourism Commission’s “F Plan” — the F stands for fashion, interaction with fans, friendship, fine arts, folk customs, flights and fairs.
Photos and videos uploaded to social media as part of the “F Plan” aim to lure more Chinese and foreign tourists.