Anita Mui: Ever-changing Singing Diva

Anita Mui (1963-2003) was a Hong Kong pop music singing diva in the 1980s and 1990s. With some rarely seen images and archives, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum was able to shine a light on some important moments of her career.

By Hong Kong Heritage Museum

Anita Mui started her singing career when she was four years old. She performed in local entertainment venues such as Lai Yuen, lounges and night clubs. In 1982, Mui participated in the first New Talent Singing Awards. With rich stage experience and a deep full voice, she won the championship and officially joining the music world.

Mui won numerous awards through the years. In addition to Hong Kong, she had numerous fans in mainland China, all over Asia, and even among Chinese communities around the world.

Red and Gold Chinese Wedding Gown in Western Style (2003) by Eddie LauHong Kong Heritage Museum

Singer with Changing Images

Mui paid great attention to her on-stage style and image design, and always gave her fans unique audiovisual enjoyment.

Photo of Anita Mui and Eddie Lau (1998)Hong Kong Heritage Museum

She once thanked Eddie Lau, a contemporary Hong Kong fashion designer, for transforming her from an ugly duckling to a female singer with an ever-changing image. 

Lau and Mui were great partners. From music videos and album covers to concerts and award ceremonies, Lau tailor-made costumes and provided overall image consultation for Mui, which greatly influenced Hong Kong's pop music world.

In 1998, at the age of 35, Mui became the youngest singer to win the Golden Needle Award at Radio Television Hong Kong's 21st Top Ten Chinese Gold Songs Award Concert. Lau designed this violet tuxedo with a matching pink sleeveless vest and a long black skirt and pants for her to wear at the ceremony.

Red and Gold Chinese Wedding Gown in Western Style (2003) by Eddie LauHong Kong Heritage Museum

Outfits of the Last Concert

In 2003, Mui, who was suffering from a serious illness, still insisted on holding the concert Anita Classic Moment Live 2003. Since Mui regretted never wearing a wedding gown, Lau specially designed two costumes to fulfill her wish to be married with the stage.

Red and Gold Chinese Wedding Gown in Western Style (2003) by Eddie LauHong Kong Heritage Museum

An elegant and high-quality red-gold Chinese wedding gown in a Western style as the concert opening costume.

The main colours of the dress are red and gold; the outfit also includes an eye mask, a ruby necklace and golden boots.

Red and Gold Chinese Wedding Gown in Western Style (2003) by Eddie LauHong Kong Heritage Museum

It is decorated with a lot of golden threads, rhinestones and embroidery, and features exquisite handiwork.

Red and Gold Chinese Wedding Gown in Western Style (2003) by Eddie LauHong Kong Heritage Museum

This design adopts a girdle, bustle and bow.

Beige Wedding Gown (2003) by Eddie LauHong Kong Heritage Museum

A beige wedding gown for the curtain call. This became the wedding dress for her last stage performance.

Beige Wedding Gown (2003) by Eddie LauHong Kong Heritage Museum

Front view of the beige wedding gown.

With the veil, it looks grand and elegant.

Beige Wedding Gown (2003) by Eddie LauHong Kong Heritage Museum

Back view of the beige wedding gown, with a 20-metre-long train.

Film Still of Rouge (1988)Hong Kong Heritage Museum

Well-known Actress Across Asia

Mui also set foot in the film industry. She made many films from her debut to the 2000s. From 1987 to 1988, she won Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards, the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Asia Pacific Film Festival with the film Rouge, and her acting achieved high recognition.

Film Still of Rouge (1988)Hong Kong Heritage Museum

The film Rouge was adapted from a novel of the same name by Lillian Lee.

Film Still of Rouge (1988)Hong Kong Heritage Museum

It tells the love story between Fleur (played by Anita Mui), a famous courtesan, and Twelfth Master (played by Leslie Cheung), a man born into wealth.

Fleur is dressed as a young man, singing A Wanderer’s Autumn Grief ......

...... when she meets Twelfth Master for the first time.

Film Still of Rouge (1988)Hong Kong Heritage Museum

Twelfth Master goes against his family’s wishes and runs away from home to live with Fleur. Because Twelfth Master’s life suddenly loses its foundation, he gets off his high horse and starts learning acting in a theatre troupe. As he fails to achieve any success, he becomes depressed.

In addition to her performances, Mui was enthusiastic about charity work. She spared no effort in organising and participating in relief activities for the Eastern China flood in 1991, the 1999 Jiji earthquake and the SARS epidemic in 2003. Anita Mui died in December 30, 2003. She devoted her whole life to her career, and helped create the glory years of Hong Kong pop music in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Hong Kong Heritage Museum is now presenting a permanent exhibition on popular culture titled "Hong Kong Pop 60+", which reviews the development of popular culture in Hong Kong from the postwar period to the early 2000s. Anita Mui's stage costumes are on display again in the exhibition. Please come and visit!

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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