Date of Issue: 17 October 2017
Qipao, a traditional Chinese dress for women that first came into vogue in the 1920s, accentuates the gracefulness of the feminine physique with its oriental charm. To review the evolution of the qipao which has spanned almost a century, Hongkong Post issues a set of stamps on the theme of “Qipao”. This set of six stamps, together with the stamp sheetlets, exhibits the special characteristics of the qipao dresses from different decades. Illustrations on the stamps are the works of students studying for the Higher Diploma in Visual Arts and Culture at the Hong Kong Design Institute. The stamp sheetlets are embedded with the first-ever qipao-shaped stamps. Furthermore, the $20 stamp sheetlet is printed with paper made of taffeta fabric to enhance the theme.
$1.70 Hong Kong Dollars ─ Qipao in the 1920s inherited the wide and straight cut of long gowns of the Qing dynasty. The hemline fell between the calf and the ankle while the sleeves reached either the wrist or the elbow.
$2.20 Hong Kong Dollars ─ Qipao in the 1930s became the most popular daily attire among women. The qipao at that time mostly adopted a slim and slender cut, with higher slits on both sides to allow easier movements.
$2.90 Hong Kong Dollars ─ Qipao in the 1940s had its hemline raised to the calf and the collar lowered. The dresses were made of plainer fabrics with few embellishments. Summer qipao dresses were largely sleeveless.
$3.10 Hong Kong Dollars – Qipao in the 1950s was characterised by a slender cut, an indented hem and a higher collar. The qipao became the most elegant and decent dress for women for going out and the mainstream work attire for office ladies.
$3.70 Hong Kong Dollars – Qipao in the 1960s bore a similar style to that of the 1950s: shortened length, a slim waistline, a body-hugging fit and a narrow hemline to create an hourglass figure.
$5 Hong Kong Dollars – Qipao in the 1970s gradually fell from grace as western outfits won hearts. Nevertheless, the qipao continued to be worn as a ceremonial dress and thus became the attire for special occasions.
$10 Hong Kong Dollars, Stamp Sheetlet – Contemporary Qipao has retained the classical design while undergoing refinement and recasting by introducing contemporary fashion elements into the fabrics, cut and styles, hence reinforcing its prestigious status as a perennial classic.
$20 Hong Kong Dollars, Stamp Sheetlet – Contemporary Qipao printed with paper made of Taffeta Fabric to enhance the theme.
Acknowledgement: Hong Kong Design Institute and Hong Kong Museum of History.