kanbukai.com 2021-09-01 23:27:12

I’m having massive writer’s block with the guzhuang series at the moment so I’ll return to answering asks while adding to it bit by bit. I couldn’t find the full movie for Snow Flower and the Secret Fan easily and from the trailer it doesn’t look like that the costumes were anything special. The time setting is a bit vague (the period scenes are just described as “19th century”), and the main female characters are shown wearing 1900s clothes when they were children and still shown wearing 1900s clothes when they grew up, suggesting that the costumer couldn’t really tell the difference between the different decades of the late Qing Dynasty. For that reason I don’t think it’s worth it to write a whole review for it. Love is a Many-Splendored Thing, however, looks fabulous and I would love to review it.

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing 1955

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing is a 1955 Deluxe color American drama-romance film in CinemaScope. Set in 1949–50 in Hong Kong, it tells the story of a married, but separated, American reporter Mark Elliot (played by William Holden), who falls in love with a Eurasian doctor originally from China, Han Suyin (played by Jennifer Jones), only to encounter prejudice from her family and from Hong Kong society. (copy and pasted from Wikipedia) 

So this is an old Hollywood movie I wasn’t expecting that. The female protagonist who was supposed to be Chinese was played by Jennifer Jones, a white actress, which would be unacceptable nowadays but I assume for this movie it was because of the Hays Code and the inability to show interracial couples at the time. Since this is a period original movie there should be fewer problems with accuracy, though there is still the discrepancy between Chinese fashion popular in China and Chinese fashion popular in the West. The late 40s and early 50s was also a key transitional period when the center of cheongsam making switched from Shanghai to Hong Kong, and many new styles were being experimented with.

The screenshots are from the upload on ok.ru

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When we are first introduced to Han, she wears this stunning Hong Kong style cheongsam in a light blue color with a matching shawl. Honestly these 1950s Hollywood cheongsam might not be the most accurate but they all look so fabulous. The construction of this cheongsam resembles the mid 50s, when this movie was made, more than it does 1949-50: it uses darts and has an hourglass shape, the collar is low with rounded edges as was popular in the West in the mid 50s. Around 1949-50, cheongsam in mainland China was still without darts and had a tall collar with no gap at the front, a short lived fad that didn’t make it to the mid 50s.

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Mid 1950s Western cheongsam sewing pattern.

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Cheongsam with tall collar from the 1948 mainland movie Spring in a Small Town.

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Tall collar cheongsam in the 1951 Hong Kong movie  Red and White Azaleas.

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Hong Kong cheongsam of the mid 50s, you can see the collar is taller than the Western style.

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This evening dress is gorgeous and standard 50s. I particularly love the width of the shawl at the back; it’s worn exactly the same way as on fashion runways.

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In this scene Han wears a perfectly tailored Hong Kong style cheongsam with a light jacket without any shaping. This silhouette was probably inspired by contemporary Western haute couture, where you often had a very tailored and hourglass sheath dress underneath a flat and untailored jacket.

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Photograph from British Vogue. I was thinking something like the outfit on the left, I feel like this is something people associate with the 60s more (like Jackie Kennedy’s iconic ensemble), but it was definitely alive and kicking in the 50s.

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Same idea, from Seventeen magazine.

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