LookS: Qipao Love ~ Part 3...my 1920s inspired Qipao look!

Happy 2013 my fabulous darlings...and welcome back to 'Walking In May' on this brand new year! I trust that you have all had a lovely Christmas season and apologize for the delay in completing this post...there were just far too many lovely photos to choose from for my 1920s inspired Qipao (Cheongsam) look taken by brilliant photographer Timothy Ward, and so so much I wanted to cover in this one post that editing took a while!

[To find out more about creative professional Timothy Ward's photography and filming work, please click on the links: 

I have always enjoyed and welcomed collaborations with creative minds...having planned this 1920s inspired Qipao look in detail and with much thought, I really wanted to capture the feeling of the roaring 20s within the look as well as photographs...so a day photoshoot in the historical Greenwich (London) with creative professional Timothy Ward was just brilliant! Having set my hair in a wide Marcel-like wave the night before, waking up early to do my hair as well as make up, and unknowingly chosen (probably) one of the coldest days of December to be in the windy Greenwich grounds right by the river, I was almost ready to burst into panic when announcements of train delays poured through the train station speakers whilst I was trying to buy a ticket from a faulty machine. A man kindly approached me to say; "Excuse me madam, I think  this machine is not working...you might want to try another one", and I suddenly stopped wrestling with the machine to thank him, realising I have just been addressed as 'madam' by an absolute stranger! Then it struck me that I might have looked a little unusual or out of place with an over-sized grey faux fur coat covering bits of shiny gold brocade, pin-curled hair and pearl earrings...so I smiled and my cheeks reddened to the thought that I might have looked quite the crazed character by those who have no idea what I am trying to do...or even to those who know what I want to do! Running around the beautiful cobbled streets of old Greenwich to capture the photos we were almost frozen to the bone, Timothy started losing sense of his fingers, my nose turned pink from the frosty wind and I again realised how seemingly bizarre my love for the Qipao (as well as my blog) must seem to this newly met collaborator...especially when Timothy asked 'what made me come out on such a cold day to do a photoshoot?'  
The Mandarin collar has become a statement look of the Qipao.....

Add a broach to a cape for a little touch of sparkle.....

My elaborately beaded white purse, given to me by an old aunt many years ago...

At the Biscuit Ceramic Cafe in Greenwich, London.

Fortunately blessed by angels...at the Biscuit Ceramic Cafe in Greenwich, London.

Close up on my hair.....wave, pin-curls and knotted bun at the nape of my neck.
Taking a break from the cold roaring winds, we decided to have a cup of tea at one of my favourite cafes in Greenwich...the Biscuit Ceramic Cafe. [To find out more about the lovely Biscuit Ceramic Cafe: www.biscuit-biscuit.com] Warming up with a hot cup in hand, surrounded by cute ceramic plates hung on the colourful walls, pots of paintbrushes on the table and vintage tunes playing in the background, I told Timothy about my blog and why I love the Qipao dress so much. I explained the details of my 1920s inspired look...the significance of the ankle length Qipao, the intricate gold silken brocade, pearled earrings, white beaded purse hanging from a roped strap, the Marcel-like waved hair, the sheer stocking with visible line running from the back, the grey suede T-barred shoes and the over sized grey faux fur coat that reminds me of the opulent 20s. As you lovely darlings who have been following might know, I have always loved the 1920s and have been fascinated by the glamorous Shanghai Qipao style of the 1930s to 1940s...but I also wanted to create a wearable Qipao look that steps away from the exaggerated fancy dress party or waitress uniform stereotypes. I chose to boldly clash my simple gold full length brocade Qipao with a purple knitted cape and accessorised with only a little sparkly brooch and my crystal Marcasite watch for a reason...the 1920s was a rebirth period for the Qipao. It was then that a loosely angular traditional dress became a more fitting and glamorous garment of choice by fashionable ladies of high society...later the combination with imported Western styled garments like cardigans or shorter capes further enhanced ones sense of personal style and affluence.

[To read more about the photoshoot I did with Timothy Ward, please head over to his blog where you will  find the blog post he did and lots of brilliant photographs: timothydarylward.tumblr.com/post/38019500413/mayloh]

Reaching out at the cobbled path of old Greenwich Market, London.

The old Greenwich Market, London.

Old Greenwich Market, London.

Outside the gates of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London.
Behind the Cutty Sark...the last surviving tea clipper (Greenwich, London).

Old Greenwich Market square, London.
There was really no better location to do a photoshoot of my 1920s inspired Qipao (Cheongsam) look than Greenwich...London may be considered one of the great world cities for many reasons, but to me, there is much more than just a cosmopolitan city centre that most people see. With a symphony of musicals, architecture, museums, theaters, cuisines, pubs, languages, people, rain, parks, pigeons, tailoring, royalty, history and underground system.....I often feel that there is no place like London and cannot help but love London more. Greenwich is also one of the reasons why I love London, being drawn to this old cobbled town with protected listed buildings over and over again through the years...from the old Greenwich Market square with vintage wares for sale to the vast park grounds that surround the Greenwich Meridian Line marking the centre of world time and the last surviving tea clipper that is Cutty Sark.
[To find out more about visiting Greenwich and Meridian Line, please click on the links: www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/place/450876-royal-observatory-greenwich or www.visitgreenwich.org.uk
Not to forget a place that I hold many fond memories of is the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, where I once spent some wonderful afternoons sitting on the grass with my university classmates, watching the river and listening to the Jazz bands play whilst having our lunch under the summer breeze. I have forgotten the number of times I strolled through the Old Royal Naval College grounds, but each time seems a little different...whether I am reminded of the fact that it is the home of time, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the background for many a famous movies, the practice domes built to a smaller scale of St. Paul's Cathedral or the birth place of Queen Mary as well as the great Tudor Queen Elizabeth I...somehow I happen to cherish it a little more.

[To find out more about the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich (London), please click on the links: www.ornc.org 

Greenwich University and the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London.

Birds flying high...within the Old Royal Naval College and Greenwich University grounds (right by the River Thames), London.

Watching the sky...the Old Royal Naval College and Greenwich University grounds, London.

So the next time you darlings visit London, please do consider spending an afternoon in Greenwich and visiting the Old Royal Naval College.....which I would definitely recommend as a London Hot-Spot! Hopefully my 1920s inspired Qipao look has managed to spark some ideas of how you might want to wear and style a Qipao (Cheongsam) of your own...especially if you are attending any Chinese New Year celebrations or wish to get your very first Qipao! Though my full length gold brocade Qipao has a little bit more in detail with the extra frogged knotted buttons on the side slits and colourful weave of bamboo as well as blossoms, it is very similar to many ready-made brocade Qipao dresses you can buy online or at a store...as I wanted to use a piece that was easily wearable and available to build a look that I hope I have managed to make my own. And of course, I could not have captured this look without the help of a brilliant photographer friend Timothy Ward...please do stop over at his blog or Facebook page when you get a moment as he has captured quite a few lovely photographs from dance to beautiful places in London!

[To find out more about creative professional Timothy Ward's photography and filming work, please click on the links: 

It was really good to collaborate with another creative mind, as it is easy to forget how new perspectives or ideas can be discovered. Which is also why I am very excited to disclose that I am starting to plan my next vintage inspired Qipao look which will be part of the 'Qipao Love: All About Qipao' series of posts...taking inspiration from the style development of the Qipao through history as well as the recent SS13 runway...which I hope to bring to you before Chinese New Year! (Please don't forget if you need to get in touch or have questions, Walking In May's new e-mail address is: may[at]walkinginmay[dot]com) Hope you darlings have had a fabulous weekend and will have a lovely start to the week!

Until the next time,
May xx
PS: Please click on the 'Qipao' or 'Qipao Love (All about Qipao)' LABEL below and on the right of the page, if you would like to catch up on other posts in the series or find out more about the Qipao (Cheongsam): www.walkinginmay.com/label/QiPao 

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THANK YOU so so much!
With a frosted pink nose, I smiled in my Qipao as the wind roared on.....the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London.


  1. Oh May this was such a cute post, I loved how you described London. I definitely HAVE TO travel there someday! :)
    And you look so elegant and dashing in Qipao, madam!

    Yours sincerely,
    Sara from Ladylike Delicacy

    1. Thank you my lovely...you are too kind! You should definitely visit London one day....it will be a fun trip! :)
      May xx

  2. May, it's been your best post so far! everything: your experience, your outfit&makeup, the place and your photographer.

    I really enjoyed it! and i'm looking forward to seeing other inspired looks :)

    Lorena xx

    1. Glad you enjoyed this post and liked the look darling! You are so sweet! I'm working on my next look and there is much to do...hopefully I won't disappoint! Have a fabulous weekend! :)
      May xx

  3. WOW, i lovee your qipao along with the furry coat!!! Looks soooo shanghai style in the olden days...and you got great posing skills:)

    I also wanna wish you a happy new year and may you have nothing but the best in 2013!!! Take care dear!!!!


    1. Thank you for the praise and lovely heartfelt wishes sweety! You are too kind. Glad you like the look and its always good to hear from you! Will you be wearing a Qipao or Cheongsam this Chinese New Year?
      Hope you had a great break away! Wishing you an amazing 2013 filled with happiness! :)
      May xx

  4. Oh May, such elegance, such exquisite personal style. Absolute beauty. :)


    1. My dear...you are too kind! Thank you so much for your lovely comment! Have a fabulous weekend beautiful Edita!
      May xx

  5. How exquisitely gorgeous! Dear May, you are a vision of timeless elegance and ravishing 1920s beauty. Breath-taking!

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you so much for your kind praises my dear! You are such a sweetheart!!
      May xx

  6. I hope you are having the most fabulous 2013 my Dear and what a post to start the new year with!
    WOW! May this post is honestly Stunning! What beautiful pictures, what a talented photographer and you are clearly a natural model! You are absolutely captivating in your fabulous Qipao and ooze 1920's elegance. Just wonderful!!! xxx

    1. Thank you so much my dear! You are far too kind in your praises...I really must say my photographer friend did a brilliant job! Not too sure if I was really modelling as I was just far too cold to move and froze on the spot! It's always so nice to hear from you! Hope all is well.
      May xx

  7. Wow! I love it! You look amazing!

  8. oh i told you already on your Facebook page how much love i have for your outstanding beautiful vintage style!
    thank you so much for commenting on my blog and leading me to that lovely place you created here!

    1. Thank you so much my dear Mary! Your lovely comments on my blog and Facebook page really made my day....much too kind. You are so so sweet! I am so glad you like the Qipao and my blog too...also your blog is really lovely! :)
      May xx


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~Thank you. I love hearing from you and appreciate every beautiful comment. Thank you for walking with me friend.....may your path always be auspicious!

With Loving Kindness,
♥ May xx

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