The historic Huangling Village hosted a Chinese qipao fashion show for the first time on April 7, transforming the 300-meter ancient Tianjie Street into a runway to showcase the distinctive handmade dresses, set off by ancient Huizhou style houses.
The beautiful body-hugging dresses, also known as cheongsam, featured the ancient silk embroidery style song jin, or Song embroidery, which originated in Suzhou during the Song Dynasty (960–1279). Known for its exquisite patterns, gorgeous colors and superb texture, the elegant Song embroidery is a recognized national intangible cultural heritage in China and has beencrowned as the champion of Chinese embroidery. The fashion show featured 30 modern qipao dresses interpreted by models of different ages.
“The historic dwellings and houses in Huangling Village and Suzhou Song embroidery are both a valuable wealth of wisdom from ancient China that represents the peak of Chinese craftsmanship. This qipao fashion show on Tianjie Street in Huangling demonstrated the history and traditional eastern aesthetics through the presentation of classic qipao dresses and Huizhou style architecture,” said Qian Xiaoping, inheritor of the Song embroidery tradition and author of the book “Chinese Song Jin.”
The fashion show, in collaboration with the Suzhouwan Qipao Culture Center, an organization devoted to promoting the art ofthe qipao and Suzhou embroideries, allowed visitors in Huangling Village to experience the merging of traditional Chinese costumes with the ancient Huizhou village‘s culture, which boasts over five centuries of history.
“We want to show the enchanting scenery, rich history as well as diverse cultural traditions of Huangling Village to more people in a new and interactive way that is helping to promote Chinese cultural heritage at the same time,” said Wu Xiangyang, CEO of Wuyuan Rural Culture Development Co., Ltd.
Huangling Village was built on a hillside with a fan-shaped, terraced slope layout; many architects have adopted the traditionalHuizhou style wood carving technique. The historic houses and shops connected by Tianjie Street make the village a scaled-down and living version of the renowned painting “Along the River During the Qingming Festival” by Zhang Zeduan from the Song Dynasty.
The ancient houses, with sophisticated carved beams, are witnesses of history, and over the years Huangling Village has been dedicated to protecting its heritage and has invited professional woodcarving craftsmen to restore, repair and care for theHuizhou style buildings.
“Huangling Village is widely acclaimed as a paradise for photographers. We hosted the first qipao fashion show during rapeseed flower blossom season, which not only combined the timeless art of Song embroidery with classic Huizhou style houses, but also highlighted the preservation of historic and cultural heritage,” Wu said.