Monday, November 2, 2009

Terri Kwan, Zhu Xuan at Prince of Tears Opening--How to wear (and not wear) a cheongsam

The the recent Taipei premier of "Prince of Tears" Terri Kwan wore a radically styled cheongsam with the usual demure neckline but with a more daring cut on on the back and particularly the sides. She paired it with pumps that closely matcher her dress and simple accessories and looked great. As did Zhu Xuan in a short eventing dress that looked like it was made of dyed feathers and Christian Louboutin T-strap pumps. Christian Louboutin seems to be one of the weapons of choice on the red carpet this season for Chinese stars. From szonline through Dennis Lee's blog.

A few pictures from the red carpet showing that Terri Kwan is fully aware of the power of the traditional Chinese dress, updated but still with much the expected structure.

Here are a couple of Terri Kwan and Zhu Xuan, the first particularly showing the bold cut of Terri's gown.

While the cheongsam is by no means foolproof--here Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki shows that it is not always flattering to the wearer. For example if the placement of the side slit makes it difficult to sit in a ladylike or even comfortable looking position:

And Paris Hilton shows a westernized, updated (updated to the Madonna Blonde Ambition Tour 20 years ago) and quite dreadful version, although picking on Paris Hilton's fashion sense really isn't fair.

The ne plus ultra of the cheongsam as a ravishing outfit, of course, is Maggie Cheung with her 32 or 33 different ones in "In the Mood for Love". Since the film was set in the 1960s and Maggie's character lived among people from Shanghai who had been uprooted to Hong Kong, the dresses were traditionally cut with the silk printed in astounding patterns. A few examples:

Here is a close-up to show the lavish pattern of one of them:

The lovely Tang Wei, while most notorious for her nudity in "Lust Caution" also wore great looking cheongsams during scenes in which she was allowed to keep her clothes on. For example:

And there is Gong Li. There is always Gong Li. Any actress who could look exquisite in a padded peasant's coat with a ratty scarf tied around her hair (which she did in "The Story of Qiuju") is going to be simply sublime in a cheongsam, particularly one cut like this one:


  1. I must say that your recent posts about Terri Kwan and Zhu Xuan got me excited to see Prince of Tears, but after watching the trailer and reading a few reviews I realized that it probably wouldn't live up to all of these sexy and glamorous red carpet pics. As a director, Yonfan is very hit-and-miss for me. But I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for future films featuring either of these two young ladies.

    Finally, did you see the recent pics of Gong Li? I couldn't help thinking about your comment about her ageless beauty. The casual confidence and power that she exudes in these photos is truly awesome.

  2. I did indeed see those pictures for which the indefatigable Dennis Lee had a link. Those particular pictures are breathtaking--I am happy that I live on the same planet at Gong Li.

  3. terri kwan is truly stunning in Prince of Tears. I saw this movie on the plane (it was one of the few chinese ones showing) and am glad i did. I had never heard of her before this movie but she graced every scene she was in and made me look forward to every scene hoping she would make an appearance.. am now a big fan!

    oh, the movie is quite engaging as well..