This picture was taken in Shanghai in the 1930s or 1940s. Most of the ladies in this photo, with curled hair arranged in forehead-exposed hairstyles and fashionable accessories such as glasses with slim golden frames, stylish watches and cute small earrings, are in sleeveless cheongsams, which are full of varied details though in similar models. The selection of textiles, for instance, vary from cheongsam to cheongsam, ranging from plain cotton cloth, burnout velvet, jacquard satin to printed patterned silk fabric. The design of collar also changes from low to high based on the wearer’s size of face and length of neck, while special designs such as single or double piping or no piping at all, single slit or double slits, were adopted according to the model or style of each cheongsam. The selection of a special fabric carpeted with embroidered patterns for the third lady from the left in the back row and the ingeniously-designed flower-shaped frogs on the horizontal slit for the fourth lady from the right in the front row indicate that these ladies’ cheongsams were tailor-made to comply with the personality and temperament of each of them.


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