La Nostalgie

These were actually taken a while back for the September 2011 issue of Numéro China by Vincent Peters starring Du Juan and Tim Lim but I came across and fell in love with them again. I can stare at them forever. Somehow 1920s Shanghai (though these feel like they were shot in Hong Kong) is my favourite time period of style and dress along with the late 1950s-1960s Ivy/Trad style of the US. Everything here feels so glamourous and sultry – any picture could have been a screen shot of Ang Lee's Lust, Caution (edit: and also Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love, don't know how I managed to leave that out). It helps that Du's absolutely gorgeous and is one of my most favourite models of all time.
I found an interesting read on Slate on the topic of the cycle of nostalgia, which I found most informative but not at all that surprising. It doesn't make sense for me to reminisce on a time period when my grandparents were just toddlers but it doesn't make it any less fascinating. I'm pretty sure it's a case of looking at things with seriously rose tinted glasses since we focus on so much of what is easy to grasp, namely the aesthetics, rather than framing things properly in their own cultural context. Though I would love to borrow the styles of yesteryear, I'm constantly worried about misappropriating certain things and   whether what I've done would have considered to be in poor taste. Perhaps what is most important is the mindset with which you approach it, since you have the decency of cultural sensitivity.
On another note, I've been thinking about just how cool it would be to have a set of qipao uniforms. My friend showed me a photo of her friend in China, who wears her cheongsam like they were a pair of ordinary jeans; she looks so comfortable and natural in them that she doesn't look out of place at all. Finding simple, slightly looser fitting but not dowdy, non-china-doll-sex-fetishy feeling qipao or cheongsam will be hard to find if they are not custom made but it's something I'm going to keep in mind for the future. Another item that I would like to possess is a light white cotton shirt with a mandarin collar, but that won't be easy to find stateside. Either way, I guess my Chinese roots will show.


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