The way Priscilla Shunmugam sees it, a well designed cheongsam is able to withstand the test of time — and different reinterpretations.
In fact, the founder of acclaimed womenswear atelier Ong Shunmugam has shifted her focus to refining her original cheongsam creations to make them icons of their own with each collection. Ong Shunmugam stands by its work — and in our opinion, it has paid off.
Take for instance, the brand’s recent Cheongsam 2018 collection. Ong Shunmugam revisited its most classic silhouettes from its archives and gave them a new lease of life through new custom-designed floral prints, modern alterations, and textiles that demand a second glance. The result? Classy, timeless cheongsams that don’t look dated one bit.
Albeit difficult to cull, we've managed to pick out some of our favourite details and looks from the collection.
1. M1 and M15
The M1 and M15 refers to the crop top and high-waisted skirt respectively. A modern interpretation of the traditional cheongsam, this ensemble features a mandarin collar on the top and a figure-flattering circular skirt.
2. Su Lin
Ong Shunmugam’s Su Lin cheongsam gets reimagined in a pine green lace with blue cording. Featuring contrasting mustard panels and a sourced batik fabric covered in flowers and dragons (this led to Priscilla’s interpretation that it was crafted by Chinese artisans), this classic is a must-own for the upcoming Chinese New Year.
The Meena is the first cheongsam Ong Shunmugam has ever designed — it goes without saying that it is also the best selling number out from the atelier’s doors. Incorporating the construction of a kimono sleeve into a cheongsam in order to rid the shoulder seam, the minimal form of the dress follows the wearer’s body to complement every body type. On this piece, you’ll find corded lace with eyelash detail cut by hand along the hem, pleats retained from the 2017 edition of the Meena, and batik used on the mandarin collars.
4. Meena with overlapping front slit
Priscilla wanted to challenge the cheongsam as a garment; cut out the ornaments, and all the furbelow — can the cheongsam handle a clean, minimalist interpretation? She got her answer in the form of this dress. With no buttons and extra adornments, this dress is kept clean and simple with a lined tapestry collar, and an overlapped hem designed to elongate the wearer’s legs.
This halter neck cheongsam with a soft peplum has princess seams that alter and fit around the bust. Make no mistake, this one is for the vivacious at heart; it’s in a vibrant, bold lemon yellow so it’s bound to send heads turning. The batik offers a strong contrast against the unexpected bright yellow. All in all, a good cut cheongsam can always carry off an offbeat colour with finesse — and we think it did just that.
See the full looks in detail by watching the video above.