In the Mood for Cheongsam at the National Museum Singapore

Today, me and my family went to the National Museum of Singapore but before that my sister and I left home earlier to Bugis Junction to buy my mum’s present. I also bought a ‘Penguin’ book titled, “Delta of Venus”. (I’ll give a book review on that one soon.

The weather was exceptionally hot today to the extent that my lips cracked and the sides went red. It was horrible.

Well enough of that mush, today was all about Cheongsam History, Cheongsam development into the modern world (part fashion/part history of course) and boy was it a treat for my mother. The room was filled with inspiration and design ideas for my mother to use for her future designs.

As we walked into the dimly-lit room, the rows of Cheongsam were exhibited to show off their print and cut.

The pieces you see above are the first worn Cheongsam by ladies in the early 1920s. With floral embroideries on the sleeve and designs that crawls over the chest area, these pieces are simple yet unflattering to the women’s figure. Do notice the 2 dimensional structure of the blouse and skirt.

After the  Women’s Rights Movement, there was a drastic change in the structure of the Cheongsam. It became one-piece, more prints were introduced and the good ‘ol slit at the side came to existence.

I love prints, so when the era of multi-prints were introduced, there were a palette of Cheongsam prints that were fitted well to a woman’s body.

My eyes just elongated to the piece in the middle (below). I just fell in love with the geometric print. It has this African inspired print to it. It does serve well as an illusion to an unflattering figure too.

I found other prints that I simply adore as well.

Lastly, modern interpretations of the Cheongsam were exhibited. Well renowned designers like John Galliano and Alexander McQueen  did just that.

John Galliano (below).

Alexander McQueen (Below)

It’s quite refreshing to have a plain colored tactile with a zipper used instead of the traditional buttons with red piping for that pop of colour. Both are really well-tailored.

And since it was just a room, the exhibition ended fast. We took some shots outside the museum to make the outing more fun.


8 Responses to In the Mood for Cheongsam at the National Museum Singapore

  1. Nordon says:

    Hi, i just passed by and read your blog, v nice n v sweet family outing…

    Is your mum a seamstress? Is she going to create a fusion cheongsam with baju kurong? Maybe it can be our national wear. I like Mrs Shears and Mrs Lee’s cheongsam most. U?

    Did you manage to get the cheongsam book published by the museum?

    • fizzyfizz says:

      Hey! Thank you for reading my blog. And yes, she is a seamstress. But she designs traditional Malay costumes for her clients. I shall do a post on that soon. Thank you by the way 🙂

    • fizzyfizz says:

      Oh I didn’t read the full reply. Well, my mum’s designs usually cater to her clients. Wedding reception, mostly. So a lot of the designs has a trace of western culture and that from Korea.

      I love the variety of culture fusions of cheongsams Mrs Lee wore. (If I’m not wrong there was a sari-inspired design on one and another with batik, love that) That caught my attention more than Mrs Shears’

      And by the cheongsam book, you meant the brochure? Because that’s all I found . . . that was free. I couldn’t afford it that day. Hahaha

      • Nordon says:

        Hey what about posting some of your mum’s creation? I would like to see them esp those with western and Korean influences. Must be interesting!

        Yes yes, I like Mrs Lee’s cheongsam on batik with the Indian like shawl. Think we are referring to the same thing. Hee…

        There is a cheongsam book on sale at the museum shop near the main entrance. It is for the exhibition. You might like it if you like the show as it has more photos and info.

      • fizzyfizz says:

        Haha, I was thinking the same thing too. But I really need to get permission from her. Haha she’s quite sensitive about this.

  2. Jenny Gray says:

    I really enjoyed this post! I’m trying to do some research about how the cheongsam changed over time (particularly from the 1920s on) for a post I’m doing, but Wikipedia is vague, and most of the rest on the information on the English web seems to be the same thing over and over. Seeing your post (and a few others about this exhibit) really helped me! Wikipedia and most of the other info I found said that the cheongsam became body-hugging in the 20’s. But seeing them, they only look body-hugging in comparison to traditional cheongsam! My understanding is some women started wearing body-hugging ones in the 30’s, but they didn’t usually have darts yet–does that sound right? I’m very interested in 20’s-30’s Western clothing (I’m an American girl), and so I’m fasincated to see the relationship between Western dresses of the time and cheongam from the same time–the straight loose shape of the 20s cheongsam, and the tighter 30s styles similar to the early 30’s Hollywood bias cut evening gowns (like Jean Harlow wore). You and your family are very cute!

    I wanted to also say that you’re a very handsome guy–I saw that you were feeling down about your looks in some other posts you wrote. You look absolutely fine! I felt insecure about my looks for years, but eventually my self-esteem and confidence improved. As I became more confident, I noticed that people’s reactions to me changed enormously (postively). I guess it’s a difference in behavior and how one carries oneself–plus, I started dressing however I really wanted to dress (I’m also flamboyant). I know that things like “people find confident people the most attractive” and “be yourself” sound like clichés, but they honestly are very effective. Good luck, and definitely follow your dreams and follow your heart! 😀

    • fizzyfizz says:

      Thank you so much! That really means a lot to me. You are really beautiful as well. 8D

      And yes, the darts came in much later in the “Cheongsam Era”(probably right after the feminist movement). If you see the pictures I took for the 1920s one , they are very 2 dimensional. It’s like they cut out similar pairs and stitched them up at the perimeters. My mum was pretty highly opinionated with the way tailoring was done decades ago.

      And yeah, that is true, about the link between the western dresses and the cheongsam ones. I didn’t see that before. Haha. Besides, I think you’d look really pretty wearing a cheongsam. 🙂

      • Jenny Gray says:

        Awwww, you’re so sweet! That means a lot to me too, especially since I’m not so young anymore (36). 🙂 I linked this post in my cheongsam post–in the further reading section at the bottom: I do in fact wear a cheongsam in the post–my boyfriend’s mom designed a product for women to wear under sleeveless/strapless garments, and I’m modeling them with clothing from my own wardrobe (in this case, my cheongsam). I’m not a model, but incidentally have sort of become one for the company (you can see ’em at that site by clicking the Shop! button on the blog–those were professional, but the cheongsam ones were taken with my camera–I’m trying to learn photography). I’m glad I met you and we became FB friends! 😀

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