Award-winning Works at the Global Han Couture Design Competition

Tian Zhi Yun

PureInsight | January 19, 2009


[] The Global Han Couture Design Competition ended successfully on October 19, 2008 in New York City. The final competition and award ceremony were held at the Prince George Ballroom. The two thousand Western and Chinese audience members in attendance enjoyed the graceful and simple designs presented by approximately fifty contestants.

The audience was given a taste of genuine, traditional Han couture, including typical clothing styles from the Han Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Song Dynasty and Ming Dynasty. The competition designs were categorized as casual wear or formal/business wear.

Han couture has two basic styles: A two-piece set consisting of an upper garment with an open cross-collar shirt and skirted lower garment, and a one-piece robe consisting of a long dress. The most striking characteristic of Han couture is its collar, which consists of a right-sided lapel. Traditional Han couture has persisted for thousands of years.

The gold medal winner for casual wear was an elegant design in the Song Dynasty style. It consisted of an upper garment with a short skirt in the style of “jiaoling youren” (wrapping a piece of fabric from the right side across to the left side). It was made of fine linen and silk. The upper garment had a greenish color with an inlaid silver-gray, broad border. The skirt had pink flowers scattered across a lighter green fabric. The costume was elegant, not decadent. When the model walked slowly past the audience with her classic beauty, she appeared as if she had just stepped out of an ancient painting.

The silver medal winner for casual wear was a long robe with a curved hem in the style of the Han Dynasty. It was a classic skirt in a green tea color with a bronze trim that spiraled down the length of the skirt. The style was simple yet lovely, like a melody from the Han Dynasty.

The bronze medal winner for casual wear was a short-sleeved dress in the Tang Dynasty style. The costume was a purple-red short-sleeved, open cross-collar shirt combined with a white long skirt. The colors were clean and bright. With a piece of jade hanging from the waist belt, the costume brought to mind a beautiful young girl from the Tang Dynasty.

The gold medal winner for formal attire was a classic dress that would have been worn in the Tang Dynasty. The upper garment was a sapphire open cross-collar shirt, and the long tulle skirt was embroidered with an orchid design. The waist skirt was tied high, making the model slim and graceful.

The silver medal winner for formal attire was a classic piece of clothing in the style of the Ming Dynasty. The long silk skirt looked luxurious with its golden chrysanthemum color. The design was typical of the Ming Dynasty: an upper garment with an open cross-collar shirt and right-sided lapel with sleeves that were long and loose accompanied by golden bordered cuffs.

The bronze medal winner for formal attire was a design in the style of the Tang Dynasty. It used white and blue as its primary colors and had a silk lining, creating a decorous look.

The above-mentioned costumes all had in common a dedication to the traditional elements of Han couture: clean color, simple fabric, and simplicity over creativity. These elements comprise the true essence of the Han Couture Competition. On the other hand, you can also see within these works a nobility and grace inherent in the purity and simplicity of the designs. The longer you look at these articles of clothing, the more beautiful you feel they are. The competition truly helped people appreciate China’s splendid culture displayed through Han Couture.

I believe that wearing traditional Han Couture transmits the values of the culture to the person wearing the garments. The person becomes kind, polite, humble and tolerant. This applies to both men and women. Men should be Yang and strong while women are naturally Yin and gentle. When Yin and Yang supplement and complement each other, society is harmonious and cordial.

Han Couture has such a profound inner meaning because Han culture is divinely imparted. The harmony between heaven and humans is reflected in every detail of Han Couture. For example, the back seam in traditional Han Couture is sewn down the middle of the dress. This reflects the value of being upright. A skirt consists of 12 pieces, with each piece indicating a month. Ancient Chinese wore a piece of jade hanging from their belt--it was not just for decoration but was there to remind people to behave properly like pure jade.

Han Couture is also very practical and comfortable. Genuine Han Couture doesn’t have zippers or buttons. Instead, it is fastened using ribbons or ties. For example, the upper garment has an inner tie on the left and an outside tie on the right. The belt for the skirt and trousers is a long, thin cloth. The fabric is made of natural materials, such as silk, cotton, or linen. When you walk slowly wearing Han Couture, you will have a calm and peaceful mind.

The Global Chinese Han Couture Competition held by New Tang Dynasty Television was significant. Everyone in society will benefit from promoting Han Couture. If everyone were to wear Han Couture, I believe people would find themselves drawn to the ancient costumes and great etiquette of the Tang Dynasty.

I will end with a poem:

The Han Couture Competition revived its origin,
Ancient conduct, manifesting purity and innocence,
Values of noble morality and etiquette,
New heaven, new earth, new Tang Dynasty people.

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