Beautiful women in tight-fitting qipaos, which accentuate their curvy figures, were a common and eye-drawing feature in Shanghai, particularly in the early 20th century. Still fashionable in China, they are less common, and usually reserved for evening wear and weddings.
Cheongsams, or qipaos (旗袍 /chee-paoww/ in Chinese), in recent years have been diversified by inspired dress-makers, and are no longer the dresses with plain floral motifs. The high neckline, the figure hugging silhouette and the high side slits speak of sophistication with a hint of sensuality that few garments have combined so harmoniously.
Take home a cheongsam bearing this unmistakable Chinese dressing philosophy. Here we recommend the most lauded cheongsam dress stores in Shanghai.
Buying a Qipao
A qipao is a unique Chinese one-piece dress. When buying or tailor-making a qipao, the fit is as important as other factors, such as style, materials, color, and length. For detailed information see How to Choose a Qipao.
When you are buying a tailor-made qipao, first of all, the shop assistant will help you to choose the style, including material, pattern, collar, length of sleeves, where to position the slit, and fastening of buttons. Tailor-making a simple qipao might only need a few hours, but for a complicated one (especially for a qipao with complicated embroidery), several days or even half a month is needed. The price of the latter is much more expensive.
There are a lot of qipao shops (both for ready-to-wear qipaos and tailor-made qipaos) in Shangle Road, Luwan District (卢湾区长乐路).
'Hanyi Cheongsam Store', i.e Hanyi Qipao Dian (瀚艺旗袍店)
Hanyi Cheongsam Store was set up eight years ago. Embroidered cheongsams are the specialty of this store. Qipaos include those tailored by seasoned old tailors, and recently released improved cheongsams with fashionable patterns and motifs to cater to the younger generation.
Most of the qipaos have gorgeous colors and complicated embroidery. If you want to buy a simple but elegant one, this is probably not the place. The qipaos are all made by experienced tailors. Tailor-making a qipao with exquisite embroidery might take at least a week.
- Price: 800 – 1,500 yuan for a traditional qipao, and 2,800 – 10,000 for a qipao with embroidery
- Address: 217–221 Changle Road, Luwan District (卢湾区长乐路221)
- Tel: 021-5404 4727
'2002 Marine Cheongsam Store', i.e. 2002 Haishang Qipao Dian (2002海上旗袍店)
a.k.a. 'Old Shanghai Qipao Shop', i.e. Lao Shanghai Qipao Dian (老上海旗袍店)
Different from those in Hanyi Qipao Shop, the qipaos in Lao Shanghai are "simple" but elegant, without peacock-like colors, such as bright red and green.
When seen from far away, it seems that some of the qipaos are made purely of one color. But, after you get close to them, you can see that there are exquisite patterns on them. The designer at Lao Shanghai is good at traditional Chinese painting, and the quintessence of traditional Chinese painting has been put into the qipaos.
2002 Marine Cheongsam Store is decorated with antique furniture, which perfectly accords with the old buildings around the store. So many people may think 2002 Haishang is a traditional cheongsam store when they first enter it. But they will find most of cheongsams are improved designs, for example they have an impeccably well-pruned short cheongsam with soft feather rimed on the collar and sleeves.
- Price: 1,800 yuan–5,000 yuan for a Qipao, 1,000–2,500 yuan for a traditional Chinese menswear, and 1,600–3,000 yuan for a traditional Chinese-style women's jacket
- Address: 201 Changle Road, Luwan District (卢湾区长乐路201号)
- Tel: 021-5404 9576
- Tianzifang (田子坊) Branch address: 258 Taikang Road, Luwan District (卢湾区泰康路258号).
'Shanghai Bund Cheongsam Store', i.e. Shanghai Waitan Qipao Dian(上海滩旗袍店)
An international fashion brand, the cheongsams of Shanghai Bund Cheongsam Store are different from those hand-made by old tailors. Chain stores of Shanghai Bund Cheongsam Store are often opened in luxurious hotels such as the Peninsula Hotel, or the Shangri-La. Cheongsams sold in Shanghai Bund Cheongsam Store are in gorgeous hues and of course good quality.
- Address: 15 Xintiandi Beili, 181 Nong, Taicang Road, Luwan District (卢湾区太仓路181弄新天地北里15号)
'Gold Branch Jade Leaf Cheongsam Store', i.e. Jinzhiyuye Qipao Dian (金枝玉叶旗袍店)
Jinzhiyuye is a Chinese idiom for elegant finery (literally 'golden branches and jade leaves'). Jinzhiyuye Cheongsam Store offers traditional cheongsams and improved cheongsams for buyers to customize. The owner of the store, a fashion designer, infuses his inspiration into the design of the cheongsam, rejuvenating traditional cheongsams.
- Address: 72 Route Cardinal Mercier (South Maoming Road), Huangpu District (黄浦区茂名南路72号)
Manlanlou Cheongsam Store (蔓兰楼旗袍店)
Manloulan Cheongsam Store is special. Not for its fame as one of the most well-known cheongsam stores in Shanghai, but for its various selections to meet your customization, and fine craftmanship befitting you taste. Suzhou Embroidery cheongsams are one of the specialties of Manloulan.
There are strict requirements on the designing, cutting and tailoring of a good cheongsam. Tailors need to size their customers 36 times for getting comprehensive dimension of their body.
In Manlanzhou Cheongsam Store senior tailors formulate a plan with the data, then a paper prototype of the cheongsam is offered to customers before making the real cheongsam. A marvelous thing about the tailors is that they predict the changes in customers' stature and reserve enough fabric for future modifications.
- Head Store Address: 243 Changle Road, Luwan District (上海市卢湾区长乐路243号)
- Branch Address: 70 Route Cardinal Mercier (South Maoming Road), Huangpu District (黄埔区茂名南路70号)
Ligulong Cheongsam Store (丽古龙旗袍店)
Ligulong Cheongsam Store specializes in making old Shanghai-style cheongsam. The use of fabric buttons ('frog buttons') instead of zippers makes the cheongsams even more traditional. Although the making of this kind of cheongsam is more complicated and time-consuming, it indeed brings enchanting charm to the dress.
Ligulong Cheongsam Store keep a sharp eye on the selection of fabrics. Some fabrics are so rare that you cannot find them in other places. Precious cloth, such as Nanjing brocade and other cloth made using ancient craftsmanship, are perfect materials for making qipaos.
Hand drawn cloth with beautiful Chinese paintings on it is an exclusive cloth provided in Ligulong Cheongsam Store. The selection of button material is as unique as that of fabric. Agate, cloisonné, jade, copper, and silver are all common materials for making buttons in Ligulong Cheongsam Store.
- Address: 205 Changle Road, Luwan District (上海卢湾区长乐路205号)
'Dragon and Phoenix Cheongsam Store', i.e. Longfeng Qipao (龙凤旗袍)
Customers are attracted by an eyeful of traditional cheongsams when they enter Dragon and Phoenix Cheongsam Store. This store was open in May of 2009. Tailors in the store have dedicated themselves in this profession for over twenty years. Some even have a working experience of over forty years.
The qipaos in Longfeng Qipao shop are great outfits as well as works of art, made with many exquisite and complicated processes. Suzhou embroidery is widely used in making a qipao. The exact measurement, well-designed style, beautiful and comfortable material, and the elaborate handiwork make every qipao there a masterpiece showing traditional Chinese culture. The fastening of buttons has auspicious symbolism, and the time for making and fastening buttons of a qipao can take as much as several days.
- Head Shop Address: 942 Nanjing West Road, Jing'an District (静安区南京西路942号)
- Tel: 021-5228 1787
- Branch Address: 209 North Shanxi Road, Jing'an District (上海市静安区陕西北路209)
Hongxiang Cheongsam Store (鸿翔旗袍店)
When Jin Hongxiang, who came back to Shanghai from Harbin after learning Western fashion design, started her tailor shop, Hongxiang Company, in 1917, streets of Shanghai were still occupied by cheongsams. But she predicted that Western dress would take a position in the closets of girls and women of Shanghai.
Hongxiang Company has been ever expanding over the last century. Now it has a reputation of making particularly good cheongsams.
- Address: Nanjing Road
Xinni Qipao (辛妮旗袍)
Compared with above two shops, the Qipaos in Xinni Qipao Shop are more affordable. Besides tailor-making a qipao, Xinni also sells ready-to-wear qipaos, and offers tailoring of a qipao with your own choice of cloth (you can buy the material elsewhere; and tailoring of a qipao without hand embroidery is about 500 yuan).
- Price: 580–1,800 yuan for an ordinary qipao, more than 1,800 yuan for an embroidered qipao, 30 yuan for a common small unique handbag, and 120 yuan for a small embroidered handbag
- Address: 231–233 Changle Road, Luwan District (卢湾区长乐路231-233号)
- Tel: 021-5404 1275, 5404 2155
Huayi Qipao Shop (华艺旗袍店)
Huayi Qipao Shop had various kinds of ready-to-wear qipaos, not only for ladies, but also for little girls. It also offers tailor-making services for guests. Besides in Jiujiaochang, Huayi Qipao has branch shops in Xinhualian Shopping Mall in Huaihai Road (淮海路新华联) and Tourist Supplies Shop in Nanjing Road (南京路旅游用品店).
- Address: 52 Jiujiaochang North Road, Huangpu District (黄浦区旧校场路北52号)
- Tel: 021-6336 3448
Heping Qipao Shop (和平旗袍店)
This shop is not very large, only 20 square meters, but it is has many qipaos for your selection. The price is much more affordable, but, of course, the qipaos are not as exquisite as more expensive ones. Tailor-making a qipao is available.
- Address: 161 Maoming South Road, Luwan District (卢湾区茂名南路161号)
- Tel: 021-6473 9043
Shopping for a Qipao with China Highlights
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