Remember when Maggie Cheung enraptured audiences with her colorful cheongsams

Director Wong Kar-Wai’s 2000 movie “In the Mood for Love” is a slow-burning, claustrophobic and visually stunning tale of illicit romance. The film, which premiered at Cannes 20 years ago today, is lauded for its tight plot, pitch-perfect score, lush cinematography and award-winning performances.
But for many, its real stars are the gorgeous cheongsams worn by lead actress Maggie Cheung.
Set in Hong Kong in 1962, “In the Mood for Love” stars Cheung as Su Li-zhen, or Mrs. Chan, a secretary who suspects her husband of cheating. Her neighbor, journalist Chow Mo-wan (played by Tony Leung), has similar doubts about his wife. The pair initially come together to confirm their spouses’ adulterous relationship, but Chow and Chan develop feelings for one another, their relationship blooming under the weight of social mores and their own tarnished marriages.
Remember when Maggie Cheung enraptured audiences with her colorful cheongsams

                          Remember when Maggie Cheung enraptured audiences with her colorful cheongsams

The cheongsams astonish as outfits, but at the same time they’re vital to the film’s visual narrating. Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle use closeups generously, often fixating their shots on the cheongsams embracing Cheung’s figure. As the camera’s drowsy however intentional look follows characters all over close flights of stairs and through faintly lit passages or shadowy rear entryways, it’s the hues and examples of Chan’s outfits that pop.

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Similarly as the film’s focal relationship is led quietly through signals and articulations, the cheongsams pass on moving dispositions and subjects. Red and green represent love and desire separately.

Warm and cold hues on the other hand recommend rising and cooling feelings, while flower examples and textures like chiffon, ribbon and silk fabric insinuate Chan’s womanliness and delicate quality.

Along with craftsmanship executive and outfit fashioner William Chang, Wong made just about 50 cheongsams for the film, however less than 30 show up in the finished edition. The pair hoped to plans from the 1960s – when the article of clothing was an ordinary thing among Hong Kong’s ladies – for motivation.

                          Remember when Maggie Cheung enraptured audiences with her colorful cheongsams

              Remember when Maggie Cheung enraptured audiences with her colorful cheongsams

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