Qipao’s Significance in “In the Mood for Love”

In Wong Kar-Wai’s film, In the Mood for Love, Maggie Cheung is seen in more than 20 different Qipaos. Each Qipao that is worn in the movie is specifically crafted for each scene and is perfectly tailored to Maggie Cheung’s body. Although the Qipao is only a costume in the film, it actually is more than just a costume. The Qipao in Wong Kar-Wai’s film is used as a mode for time and mood for each scene in the film. In Giuliana Bruno’s article, Surface, Fabric, Weave: The fashioned World of Wong Kar-wai, Bruno argues that fashion is an art form in the sense that it’s considered a form of imaging similar to a painting or photograph. With this in mind, it is clear while watching the film that Wong Kar-Wai uses the QiPao as an “aesthetic form of Visual fabrication” that is in-sync with the history of visual culture.

Picture captured from late scene in the Film

Picture captured from late scene in the Film

In the film, Mr. Chow (Tony Chiu Wai Leung) and Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) found out that their spouses are having an affair with each other. However, neither of those characters are shown during the movie keeping the focus on the two victims of this affair, Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan. Furthermore, the majority of the film is focused around Mrs. Chan’s Qipao. Every time Mrs. Chan is seen, she is wearing a Qipao, which brings to light Mrs. Chan’s beauty, femininity, and sexuality. The color of the Qipao, like a mood ring, indicates what mood she is in, but also the mood of the scene. So, when Mrs. Chan is seen wearing a simple, or colorless Qipao, she is concealing herself and gives off a conservative attitude, which is in contrast with the Qipao’s historical and cultural connotation. But, when Mrs. Chan is in a more colorful Qipao, she steals the focus of the audience, furthermore drawing the attention of Mr. Chow. cite a visual evidence

The Qipaos that Mrs. Chan wears indicate a change in time. Because the film jumps around from moment to moment with no indication of time change, it is difficult for the audience to know the context of when these actions are taking place. But, thanks to the different Qipaos worn, it is clear to us that it is a new day or moment because Mrs. Chan is wearing a different QiPao. need a visual evidence

Maggie Cheung’s face throughout the film is also very simple, making sure not to show her emotion through her facial expressions, but rather have the audience interpret and understand her emotions and thoughts through her costume in that scene. After Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan end their affair, Mrs. Chan tells Mr. Chow to never look at her again. This is a great example of how the Qipao is used. As she tells him this, she is wearing a colorful Qipao, which was previously an indicator of her happiness, but also that she was trying to attract Mr. Chow. So, when she tells him to never look at her again, we can assume that the beauty and elegance of the Qipao is the reason Mr. Chow was so attracted and enamored with her.

Fashion put aside, the music of this film also played a significant role. In the film, Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan role played as each other’s spouses in an attempt to figure out how their spouses’ affair began. In multiple scenes, the same music is played as Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow come in contact with each other. This music is an indicator of the heightening of their affair. Also since they are trying to figure out how their spouses’ affair started, the music can also indicate a moment their spouses shared in the beginning stages of their affair. focus on qipao as there is no enough room for music

a nice work, Ejazz