It’s no secret I just love qipaos, the form-fitting Chinese dress. And because I’m obsessed with qipaos, I’ve noticed the publishing industry has taken an interest in them, too.
Tonight I had to buy some gifts, so as I perused an online bookstore and clicked on Jennifer Cody Epstein’s fabulous novel, The Painter from Shanghai (W.W. Norton, 2008)–one of my favorites about pre-revolutionary China–I had a bout of déjà vu.
Beautiful cover, right?
It’s been several years since I’ve read The Painter from Shanghai, so I’d forgotten the details of this elegant cover. But it quickly stirred up memories of another book I read more recently.
Check out these other qipao-clad covers of books I’ve read over the months:
A Tiger in the Kitchen
Besides the gorgeous cover, Cheryl Tan’s story is mouth-watering delicious. Her cover reminded me of this one:
The Concubine's Daughter by Pai Kit Fai
While it seems like the qipao is in fact a trend in book cover artwork, I can’t forget The World of Suzie Wong (World Pub, 1957), published back when Hong Kong women still wore cheongsams, or qipaos, as their everyday attire. (They certainly weren’t wearing them north of the border back then!).
The World of Suzie Wong by Richard Mason
But I can’t remember a qipao book cover from the decades between Suzie Wong and several years ago. Are qipaos more stylish now than in the recent past? Or were they even taboo in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, seen more as a fetish than a fashion?
What do you think?