Wong Kar-Wai’s poetic film, In the Mood for Love, set in 1962 Hong Kong tells the story of newspaper editor Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung) and secretary Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) who move into neighbouring apartments on the same day. Soon they discover their spouses are having an affair. Hurt and angry they find comfort in their growing friendship, but while trying to piece together the circumstances behind the affair, they realize they now need to come to terms with their own mutual attraction.

This movie with its outstanding acting, the poetic and melancholic story, compelling music and deep film noir colours is a must-see in my book. I could watch it over and over again just for actress Maggie Cheung’s movie wardrobe alone. During filming she wore a total of forty-six different cheongsams, the straight, body-hugging silk dress with a high neck and short sleeves worn traditionally by Chinese and Indonesian women. Not all of them made the final cut, but there were more than enough left to leave me breathless. This is my type of alluring! The cheongsams are exquisitely elegant, formfitting but very covered-up, with the slit skirt showing just a hint of leg, and the bare arms contrasting beautifully with the high collar.

I’ve seen this type of dress work outside the movies too. At my sister’s wedding, a friend of hers wore a stunning bright red version with a gold and green pattern. Brigitte is a tall lass with a blond pixie and a long neck, the dress fit her perfectly. She certainly stood out that night, but it didn’t feel contrived or out of place at all. It was without a doubt an unusual choice, and a very individual look that really appealed to me. We all agreed that she was one of the best dressed guests at the wedding.

Do you like cheongsams? And would you ever consider wearing one yourself for a party or a special occasion?

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