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Shenyun Performing Arts World Tour

September 2013, New York, USA

Appreciation of the Designs from the First Han Couture Design Competition (1)

-- Women's Apparel in Tang Dynasty

Amy Lee

The first Global Han Couture Design Competition sponsored by NTDTV was very successful and won warm praise from audience last fall. The design and the finishing garments for the competition were fabulous. However, the saying goes, “laymen see the exterior, experts see beyond the surface.” How to appreciate the beauty of Han Couture? And why do the winning entries stand out? Let's look at these exquisite designs and explore what a traditional Han clothing is and its beauty.

金獎作品:瞬(王昭清) 金獎作品:瞬(王昭清)
Gold Award: Moment (by Zhaoqing Wang)


The beauty of this gold winning design is its beautiful color combination, put harmoniously together. This is a classic Tang style and known as short shirt jacket and long skirt. It was very popular among women from ordinary households to the palace during the Tang Dynasty, particularly during the early period of the dynasty. This style makes women appear slender and feminine. In addition, it is easy to wear and looks very graceful. The proper way to wear it is to tuck the shirt jacket inside the skirt and tie the skirt very high up on the chest or under the armpits, meanwhile wear a pair of long pants underneath, hence forming a three-piece suit.
The selection of colors in this design shows the designer's unique taste and vision: combining colors from nature, the designer catches a moment of tranquility and reflects in her work quiet river, with rocks and flowers of delicate fragrance surrounding it. Overall, it is a combination of blue, white and gray colors, in addition to patterns of flowers and leaves. The color rendering method is very comparable to the beautiful fabric of ancient times; from top to bottom, the belts, the pattern and color of the sword belts fit nicely together. The skirt opens to be a square piece with delicate thin pleats in order to facilitate the human body to move comfortably, and the shirt jacket barely covers the abdomen.

The sword belts are for decoration and they evolved from Fu belt, a symbol of status and dignity from the ancient times for both men and women. The sword belts are on both sides of a skirt, which floats when one walks and brings out a moving sensation and quietness. In ancient China, this kind of decoration was highly valued. In this creation, not only the look, style, pattern of the fabric, and artistic treatment, but also the layout and cutting of the outfit are very traditional.
There are also other ways to put this type of outfits together during the Tang Dynasty. Instead of wearing short dress jacket, one can wear various lengths of dresses, from mid-thigh to below the knee. However, one needs to add a long shawl to that style. For formal occasions, it is better to add another robe long enough to cover the knee caps. All together there are quite a few ways to mix and match the outfit.

Elsie He 作品 Elsie He 作品
Design by Elsie He