China's haute couture symbol

By Xu Junqian in Shanghai | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-02-17 12:25
China's haute couture symbol

Qipaos are making a comeback in China, with today's wealthy willing to splash the cash on intricate creations by renowned tailors such as HanartQipao in Shanghai

This time of the year is usually the slowest for Shanghai's fashion industry.

Most designers and stylists have only just returned from their hometowns following the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays. Many stores have yet to even change their displays to showcase their new collections for spring.

But while most of the people in the fashion industry are still shaking off the post-holiday fatigue, the workshop of HanartQipao, located on the first floor of a quiet residential building in downtown Shanghai, is already a hive of activity as a dozen middle-aged women piece together exquisite qipaos for wealthy and famous clients.

HanartQipao, one of the city's most renowned qipao tailors, charges at least 3,800 yuan ($553) for a dress. Some of the more elaborate ones can cost up to 60,000 yuan ($8,741).

But for Zhou Zhuguang, the founder and art director of the company, making qipaos is much more than a lucrative business.

"Qipaos are the future and perhaps also the beginning of Chinese haute couture," said the 54-year-old Shanghai native who is also the vice director of the Shanghai Fashion Association and the chief consultant for the Shanghai Qipao Association.

"If there is one country that can make haute couture that is as good as France, it should be China. This country has for thousands of years been pursuing perfection in craftsmanship regardless of cost."

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