Trend-Alert: Timeless opulence with brocade and embroidery.....add some old school spice in your Christmas look!

Ralph Lauren (Photo source:
With Christmas just more than a month and a half away, I suspect you lovely darlings might just be thinking about putting together your party look, so I decided to put the finale post on my America trip on hold a little while and squeeze in a trend post! Why not consider something a little different this party season? Eventhough the AW12 catwalks were littered with Eastern inspired pieces with richly colourful brocade, figure hugging Qi Pao dress cuttings and some intricate embroidery by designers such as Proenza Schouler, Zac Posen and Ralph Lauren.....Vogue describing it as luxurious "Eastern futurism for the modern woman" is yet to become an attention grabbing trend and limited copy-pieces seem to have actually made it through to high street shops. As one who believes it is important to find a style that suits you and pick what you truly love, I have not been one to follow every popular trend that comes through each season.....which probably explains my love for the Qi Pao and vintage looks.....but I do see it as an opportunity to create your own unique look with a yet to be fully developed trend. I must also add that the Eastern inspired pieces are not easy to wear and may not suit every one can easily get caught by looking dramatically stereotyped like a fancy dress party hostess in a Pan-Asian restaurant with the richly bold colours and brutally unforgiving dress look you might be inclined to avoid if your Christmas work party happens to be in a Chinese restaurant this year. Of course I am in no way advocating that thick colourful brocades and extravagantly embroidered Eastern inspired dresses are only for the stick-thin models of the catwalk, after all my collection of Qi Pao dresses are just as unforgiving of my muffin top, thick wings and short frame! But this is exactly why there will be more room for your own creative stamp, as I do think that these Eastern inspired dresses will look sweetly chic with some help from Vintage styling.....for example many of you who are familiar with the vintage circle might have spotted the Qi Pao being beautifully worn on varying female frames with crowns of vintage hairstyles at some point, or found a stunning old Chinese dress whilst raiding through a vintage fair lot during some weekend thrifting excursion and instantly feel like you have hit the jackpot of gold!
[To find out more about the 'Tales of the Orient' AW12 trend on Vogue, click here:]

Vintage poster from CULTURAL CHINA TOURS
Perhaps it was the emergence of seductively exotic character of 'Suzie Wong' in the late 1950s which featured Asian actress Nancy Kwan as the lead and showcased how stunning the Qi Pao (also known as Cheongsam) dress actually is, that has sparked off the glamorous Shanghai girl look in the Hollywood world stage and made the Qi Pao a popular trend for a short period of time. The image of Suzie Wong in a Qi Pao propelled Nancy Kwan into quite the exotic sex icon in the 1960s, opened doors for other Asian faces to take on more prominent roles and led to the first almost fully Asian cast in the 1961 Hollywood movie 'Flower Drum Song', but ironically Nancy Kwan was not able to sing all the big musical numbers in the movie herself and the success of Suzie Wong also negatively reinforced unwanted stereotypes about the modesty of Chinese women. I have mixed feelings when it comes to Suzie Wong; on one hand I did not like her character being written as a prostitute with a stereotypical accent when she spoke English and politically incorrect references in the film, but on the other hand I could not help sighing to the fact that it was a love story about a man who loved a girl no matter what she did or who she was, admired how beautifully glamorous she looked in the Qi Pao dresses and loved her entire amazingly vintage wardrobe in the film. Aside from this sticky topic, I do love love a particular bit of the 'Flower Drum Song' with Nancy Kwan.....probably because "I enjoy being a girl" too:  

[To find out more about the 'World of Suzie Wong' please click here: OR]
Some of you lovely darlings may be wondering why I am ranting on about the Qi Pao again, and for those of you who have been following......yes, you guessed is near the time when I am thinking about adding to my Qi Pao collection for the coming Chinese New Year! [To find out 'Why I Love the Qi Pao?':  or for more posts on the 'Qi Pao/Cheongsam':] So it almost seems like the perfect excuse to troll through the web to find some party inspiration for Christmas as well as Chinese New Year.....and of course share what wonderful little gems I have found with you. Whether you are a long time admirer of embroidery who is looking to be decked out in a fully embroidered frock, or a new enthusiast of Eastern styles who is looking to accessorize with a little sparkle of brocade, I hope this post will offer some inspiration of how to incorporate some chic Eastern glamour into your party look this Christmas!

Merry-ing from Mini to Midi
For those of you who love the shorter length dress.....albeit thigh skimming Minis or flirty below knee are a few head turning delights to tempt those yuletide taste buds!
1950s Betty dress in Japanese Odorico by MISS BAMBOO

[For more Asian inspired dresses, including a few Qi Pao, from Miss Bamboo:]

MAX C brocade dress at ASOS

Elina hand-embroidered dress by ERDEM

ASOS skater dress with embroidery

Oriental Jacquard Dress by OASIS

Maxi-mising your party look..... 
Then of course, there are the red carpet worthy, show stopping and long flowing Maxis that will effortlessly announce the glamorous factor at that special Christmas party.....roll on the sexy sirens!

Notte  dress by MARCHESA

Eliza J embroidered bodice dress

Embroidered mesh party dress by PEARCE II FONDA at Debenhams

Paloma maxi dress by Phase Eight

Vintage brocade Cheongsam (Qi Pao) on ETSY

Embroidered and beaded velvet Cheongsam (custom made) by Buy Cheongsam
In the old days the Qi Pao would be custom made by a girl's favourite tailor in a fabric of her choice.....therefore ensuring the perfect fit and created a flattering garment she will love. Though this may not be an option for many today, if you happen to be talented with the needle yourself.....then here are some old sewing patterns that might just help inspire you lovely darlings to create your very own Eastern inspired vintage number for that all important party this year! Here is the link:

Shoes.....glorious shoes!
Not to forget those all important accessories to achieve a minimalist Eastern inspired vintage look.....such as a pair of elaborately cute heels to twirl the night away!
Orient by MISS L FIRE

Home Sweet Home by MISS L FIRE

Etro embroidered wedge

CLARKS: Dollar Party in gold fabric

Oscar de la Renta: Zoey embroidered suede pumps

Zac Posen (Photo source:
Whatever you choose this winter, I hope you will achieve your glamorous party look with a smile! Don't forget to try your hands at some vintage hairstyles too......and of course some divine red lipstick in line with the festive mood. I shall be thinking about my Christmas party look soon as well as my new Qi Pao for the new year, but most of all I look forward to writing each Christmas cards, baking cookies to decorate and shopping for presents for my lovely family. What do you enjoy most in your Christmas preparations? Or have you already started preparing?Next up will be the finale post of my three week America trip......but also a beehive look is still to come! Have an absolutely fabulous day my lovely darlings!

Until the next time,
May xx

NOTE: I am in no way affiliated with any of the above named brands or websites, as any opinion is strictly my own and this post has not been sponsored by any company or organisation.

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  1. hey May, the funniest thing is that i just started scoping out a xmas look today. i went from site to site in search of the perfect dress + assorted bits and came up dry. i love the Eastern influence you've shown here and all the lovely fabrics + patterns are incredibly beautiful too!!

    i'm so checking out that ASOS brocade little number, it's really pretty! good lucks planning your own outfit for party time too, i bet you'll make a wonderful choice and hit it right out the park :) ahhh, Christmas really is right around the corner, how'd that happen? eeps! excited but also wishing for a freeze frame to allow for some more prep time too. baha! happy weekend lades! ♥

    1. Thank you so much Lynn! You are such a darling! Glad you like the post and have found something useful from it! I just love how beautifully woven the brocade is and there is so much more to fabric than meets the eye! I know what you mean too as the year just seems to have flown's wishing 2013 will be even better!! I am sure you will look amazing in your Christmas outfit and I can't wait to see the post!
      May xx


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