The qipao was quite different from the cheongsam in many ways. Unlike the cheongsam this dress had an extremely lose fit and would hang straight down over the entire body. The Manchu were very strict with regards to enforcing the qipao upon the Han Chinese people. Anyone who would be unwilling to sport the qipao in place of the traditional Han clothing would be punished by the death penalty.
For the next three centuries the cheongsam dresses became the official clothing for the women of China. As the public started to get comfortable with the dress they started making their own artistic inputs to the dress in order to make it more exclusive.
Evolution of the Qipao
The qipao had an extremely loose fitting and would cover the entire body of the woman save her face, hands and feet. The baggy feel of the qipao was meant to conceal the figure of the feminine form. With time however the Chinese women started to alter the qipao. The movement was towards giving it a tighter fit and making it more revealing. So much so that the modern standard qipao is a slender fitting high cut dress that is not at all like the original dress.
The modernized version of the qipao dress first became popular in China as the Zansae dress. It was worn by the upper class women in top notch social gatherings. Today you will find the qipao in many different forms and cuts. From bell sleeves to sleeve less and high necked to back lace frothing the qipao is available in an unlimited variety of styles.
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