Friday, February 13, 2009

The story of a qipao - part 2

All of my life, I had always dreamed of a western style wedding. I pictured myself wearing one gorgeous white dress to wear throughout the night. After getting engaged though, I thought more and more about possibly wearing a qipao during my wedding reception. I just thought that it would be a really nice gesture for my parents and my in-laws. It was the least that I could do for everything that they have given me in my life.

So, the search was on for the perfect qipao, and I had no idea where to start. I asked a few friends around Boston to see where I should go, and ended up trying on a few at Kim's Fashion Design in chinatown. They really had some nice designs there, but for some reason, nothing screamed that it was "the one" to me. I then remembered that my oldest sister wore a qipao for her wedding reception back in 1997, and I thought that maybe she might still have it? and she did! She mailed the dress to me, and it fit... but I just still didn't get that feeling that it was "the one."

After going to a few more stores around Boston and still not finding the perfect qipao, I started to wonder if I would ever find one. Later that week, I was at my in-laws' house and somehow the qipao hunt conversation came up. They didn't know that I was looking for a dress, and my mother-in-law asked "do you want to try mine?" My eyes immediately widened and I said "yes!" I was so excited to try it on. She brought it out and it was made of white silk with detailed red embroidery all down the dress. I tried it on and quickly found out that my shoulders were too broad to even squeeze my arms through the top of the dress. *sigh* was I ever going to find a qipao?

Then... it happened. I was on the phone with my mom, updating her about some wedding details, and mentioned that I've been searching for a qipao, but couldn't find one in the stores, couldn't fit in my mother-in-law's dress, and didn't think that my sister's dress was the right one for me. My mom asks "why didn't you ask me?" It never even occurred to me to ask my own mother for a qipao, but when she said that, I thought back to when I was younger, and I remembered that my mom had a beautiful qipao tucked away in a box on the top of her closet.

My mom told me that in Taiwan, her mother (my grandmother) had this qipao custom made for my mom to wear on her wedding day back in 1969. I got this tingling feeling because I thought it would be so special to wear the qipao that my mom wore for her own wedding day almost 40 years ago, given to her by her mother, who I unfortunately never got the chance to meet before she passed. The only question was, "would it fit?"

On my wedding day, I changed from my white wedding dress into my mother's red silk qipao from 1969, with gorgeous silver beading and sequins in a phoenix and blossom branch design. I couldn't have been happier with how it all worked out, and I definitely found "the one."

All of these photos were taken by Brittany of BKB Photography, and the last one is a picture of me and my mother dancing together at my wedding reception =)

~Emilie

3 comments:

Juliet Douglas said...

That is a stunning qipao!

Jolee said...

That is seriously the most unique, beautiful qipao I've seen yet and I've been looking at A LOT (not my wedding, for a cultural presentation lol).

If and when I do get married, I'd definitely have to look at yours again for inspiration. They just simply don't make them like that anymore. Most are just mass cheap "silk" imitations from China. I'd definitely go back to Hong Kong to have one made for mtyself...if and when lol.

Sharlene said...

my god..its so so so pretty!!