Friday, October 17, 2014

Singapore Cheongsams :: Lark and Peony Modern Cheongsam Shopping + {Promo Code}

Nami Blue
The last few days, Lark & Peony did it again and sent part of the cheongsam-loving community crazy by launching their new modern cheongsams made with vintage fabric prints from Japan. I heard Mori in Green was technically "sold out" even before sale started with the preorder enquiries, and Mikan Orange in size M was out within minutes!! Really crazy.

Mikan Orange
Thankfully, I was down at their atelier to have a sneak peek and to purchase some of my favourite designs from the vintage collection beforehand. I saw all 9 designs they are going to release in the upcoming months, and was really delighted! It took a lot of will-power and holding back from the boy to prevent me from buying each piece haha. With the full-circle skirt, deep functional pockets, sexy back cut-out design and 3 tiny neck buttons at the collar, it is really hard not to fall in love with this new dress silhouette.

The boy liked them too but said that these few dresses barely look like cheongsams, even modern cheongsams. However, I think the mandarin collar is a dead giveaway because when I think of cheongsams, that's one of the most prominent features.

The collar is shorter than most previous designs at 2.5cm, but fits the overall relaxed feel of the dress. It gives it a subtle hint of the Orient, and for someone who has never worn a traditional cheongsam or modern cheongsam before, but would like to, it makes for a fine choice as it's just a baby step in that direction and not too overwhelming.

Nami Blue
I'm fine with the shorter collar, as together with the open back and light Indian cotton material, it makes for a very comfortable dress in our hot weather, even to Sentosa when we visited RWS S.E.A. Aquarium last weekend. However, I would have preferred the collar to be stiffer and more fitted around the neck like the Hsih Shih {classic cut} or Yokihi designs though. Maybe you need a higher collar for that "effect", or cut the opening smaller.

In the end, I went away with MikanPaisley Red {out on 20 Oct 14} & Nami Blue {out on 27 Oct 14}. Mikan is just so refreshing & somewhat reminds me of Perankan tiles {saving this for CNY next year!!}, Persian Paisley has such a rich orange hue and I love that Nami Blue has such beautiful blue and green shades in the various florals.

Paisley Red
I'm wearing size M and they all fitted me perfectly for the bust and waist. If you find the usual pleated skirt designs {also known as the Yokihi style in Lark & Peony language} for modern cheongsams too "boxy", the new vintage line from Lark & Peony will be an excellent choice. The full circle skirt is very flowy and feminine... ready for you to swish into happy tea parties or laughing twirl sessions with your kid :)

Paisley Red
Remember that scene in "You've Got Mail" where Meg Ryan was talking about twirling with her mum when she was a little girl? I wished I had a daughter then to do that too and I'm so glad that now, I do. Lil Pumpkin certainly enjoyed that and kept asking me to go again, and again... and again!!

Here are 3 things I like about shopping at Lark & Peony, and tips you should be aware of too:

Hsih Shih in Midnight Bamboo
1. Physical fittings before purchase {by appointment only}
Although Lark & Peony is an online boutique, all customers are encouraged to come try on the dresses at their small atelier if they're unsure because the fit of the cheongsam is so important. I wish more online cheongsam boutiques offered this service.

Being the OCD shopper that I am, this really appeals to me. Some fabrics have more give than others so you wouldn't know how the dress would fit until you put it on. Also, you get to try on designs that you might not be very keen on, but end up loving!

Like this Hsih Shih in Midnight Bamboo. It wasn't something that caught my eye immediately but when I tried it on.. Wow!! I like the Asian feel and the symbolism behind the bamboo. One of the most impressive thing about the bamboo is how flexible it is. The foundation is solid, yet it moves and sways harmoniously with the wind, never fighting against it. So, even when the strong wind tires itself out, but the bamboo remains standing tall and still.

There's an old proverb that goes "the bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists". I'd like to apply this more to my life to be less headstrong, and more accommodating even in circumstances that may not go my way. I will not be defeated!! :)

Hsih Shi in Midnight Bamboo
2. Customisations available
Minor changes, like adding buttons are free. Size alterations are available {S$10 onwards}, but Lark & Peony doesn't encourage altering the cheongsam unless absolutely necessary so that it doesn't compromise the integrity of the dress. Their website states the standard S/M/L/XL sizes, but sometimes, and I'm talking about really small quantities, they have in-between sizes like S+ or M+ which you can enquire about. This is one good reason why you should go for physical fittings before purchase.

Hsih Shih in Midnight Bamboo
3. Timeless style
I like cutesy prints too, but sometimex, I find that I tend to tire of them pretty fast. Although Lark & Peony has cute prints {fyi, some are in the pipeline for next Chinese New Year!}, the focus of their design is for the sophisticated woman who would like to hand down their precious pieces to the next generation.

One reason why I hardly buy costume jewelry is precisely because of this reason. Fast and cheap fashion means you keep buying and discarding items that get worn out quickly. I've always loved longevity in my jewelry that I can pass on to Lil Pumpkin, and now I'm beginning to want thoughtful clothing that has longevity in my wardrobe too, which is where the well-constructed Lark & Peony modern cheongsams come in.

You'll find that most of their designs won't get phased out after each season and will look timeless no matter when you bought them, or where you wear it... which is really how cheongsams should be.

I brought Yokihi in Turquoise Peony to Problogger Event 2014 and had tons of compliments from the Aussies too ;) I think even if Lil Pumpkin wore this 20 years from now, she'll still look great in it :P

Yokihi in Turquoise Peony
Ok enough gushing from me. There's still one more design in their Princess Pingyang workwear range to be released, and stay updated via their Facebook page. Good to be a member on their shopping site too as there's no pre-orders taken for the vintage collection, so it's really fastest fingers first!

Yokihi in Turquoise Peony
You can also see my current list of places to buy cheongsams in Singapore here.

Promo: Quote "SAKURA10" for S$10 off each total cart purchase {includes sales items} at Lark & Peony online boutique. Valid for multiple purchases until 31 Oct 2014 only. Free shipping to Singapore addresses and overseas shipping available.

* Disclosure: Lark and Peony provided Hsih Shih in Midnight Bamboo & Yokihi in Turquoise Peony for review. Vintage collection cheongsams were purchased separately. All opinions are my own.


mail4rosey said...

You made some wonderful choices, they are all very pretty and look fantastic on you. I did not see the Meg Ryan movie, but I do remember swinging around each of my own kids, and they did all love it. :)

An Apel a Day said...

I love the patterns and colors. Their dresses are so pretty on you!

Walking In May said...

Looking absolutely lovely Ai! Especially like the photo swirling your daughter around. Lark & Peony definitely play with prints in their design very well. Have a fabulous weekend!
May x
PS: Please do join the Qipao Love community!

Masshole Mommy said...

You are so cute. Seriously. You picked out some awesome dresses. They all look awesome on you.

Theresa Mahoney said...

They are so fun and colorful, and you make the perfect model for them. You rock each one, girl!

Ai Sakura said...

mail4rosey: thanks! yeah I think all kids too haha

Alissa: thank you :)

May: Look forward to meeting you! Gonna reply the email

Masshole Mommy: thanks dear!

Theresa: haha so sweet you

Grace said...

The Yokihi in turquoise is definitely my favourite! Love the cheongsam. Such a beautiful style and suits you perfectly!

Lisa Wood said...

Very stylish, each dress is beautiful and the style/cut is perfect!
Love the dress - especially the green one!