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China

The Little Silk Dress That Made China Sexy

In China, nothing says sexy like Maggie Cheung in a tight-fitting mandarin gown. But few people know the real story behind this dress, and how it became so popular in 1920s Shanghai, before disappearing after the revolution -- and finding new life today.

The qipao, worn like this, embodies classic Chinese sex appeal (Shizhao)
The qipao, worn like this, embodies classic Chinese sex appeal (Shizhao)
Yang Tingting

SHANGHAI - In the trailer of Zhang Yimou's upcoming epic film "The Flowers of War" one of the most memorable scenes involves 13 swaying women wearing qipao dresses. Pronounced "chee pow" and also called cheongsam, the dress is both extremely feminine and subtly sexy. It is the embodiment, in some people's eyes, of a kind of classic Chinese sex appeal.

Before Zhang Yimou's film, the form-fitting dress was worn by the elegant and sublime Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar Wai's "In the Mood for Love", and in Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution." It has also made an occasional appearance wrapped on a Western celebrity, including Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lopez.

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Families wait for news of their missing relatives following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Barev!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where 21 are killed in a school shooting in Texas, Davos focuses on Ukraine, and a vertigo-inducing world record is broken at Mont-Saint-Michel. Die Welt also offers a psychoanalyst’s perspective on how war survivors pass trauma onto their children.

[*Armenian]

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