The Chinese qi pao first made an appearance during the Qing Dynasty among the nobility and is still worn today by brides. Although the original was loose-fitting and modest, the body-hugging version we’ve come to know became popular during the 1940s.

Purists usually wear the red  and gold variety, as those colors represent wealth, prosperity and luck in Chinese culture, even though they are available in a wide array of colors, including white and ivory. Its sheath silhouette and regal embroidery make it fit for an empress, even if it’s only for a day.

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