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Qipao forever in vogue

When Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s movie, In the Mood for Love, hit the big screens in 2000, the 20-some pieces of qipao presented by the leading actress, Maggie Cheung, inevitably made the scene. Has it ever made you wonder where to find something as graceful and gorgeous? At Ruifuxiang, you may get your answer.

Taking a walk along Dashilan, the oldest commercial street in Beijing, it is hard to miss the baroque-style building, where the legend of Ruifuxiang started.

Ruifuxiang Silk Store, a time-honored brand in Beijing, has been enjoying popularity among consumers for over a century. The brand was built in 1893 by Meng Luochuan, a businessman from Shandong province. Ruifuxiang soon won its reputation by providing high-quality dyed cloth, silk and satin at fair prices, and meticulous tailoring service, and became people’s first wardrobe choice. The first national flag of the People’s Republic of China was also made with Ruifuxiang silk.

Even now, Ruifuxiang is well-known as perhaps the best qipao tailoring service you can find in Beijing. As the trend of wearing qipao has returned not only in China but also overseas, Ruifuxiang is always at the top of the shopping lists of women who want to sport a traditional Chinese look.

It takes two weeks to make a piece of qipao; a month if embroidery is involved. The customer needs to come to the store for one fitting before the garment is completed. There are more than 100 procedures, including measuring, cutting, sewing, edging, buttoning…most of which are done by hand. If you just can’t wait to put on a piece of qipao or Tang suit, you can also find ready-to-wear clothes at Ruifuxiang.

Zou Qiuming, who has been working at Ruifuxiang for over 30 years, is happy to see that more and more people, especially young people, are coming to Ruifuxiang looking for outfits.

Ruifuxiang has developed many new products to attract more customers. Silk quilts, for example, their cover and stuffing are made from 100 percent natural silk, and customers can watch the entire production process at Ruifuxiang. And the designs of Ruifuxiang clothes are becoming more diverse and have been combining with more modern design elements. Or, customers can just design their own styles, and let Ruifuxiang turn them into garments.

Video: Huang Lan

Photo: Wu Chuanjing

Producer: Flora Yue