Many have been tempted by the traditional Chinese dress, the qipao, but wearing one convincingly is harder than it looks. The unforgiving shape, and the risk of resembling a waitress in a high-end hotel, is enough to put anyone off. However, Yi Tian Rong Zhi breathes new life back into the dress. Their selection of qipao is fashioned in a wide array of colors and fabrics. The marriage of the traditional garment with modern, quirky fabrics works surprisingly well, allowing you to wear the dress in a relaxed, everyday manner, successfully distancing yourself from the Roast Duck maitre’d. The other bonus is how affordable the dresses are (RMB 280).
The little store, tucked away on Yonghegong Dajie, is tricky to find, not least because of the discreet shop front, currently masked by the ongoing construction in the area. Once you’ve found it though, you keep coming back, as regulars who’ve patronized the establishment for over ten years know all too well. The shop itself is something of an outlet, with the garments created off-site. They design and make all the clothing themselves, so if something takes your fancy, or you’d prefer to have it made up in an alternative fabric, the shop assistants can take your measurements and have one created to fit your frame perfectly.
There’s more in store than traditional Chinese clothing, however. The quirky, eccentric nature of the designs and fabrics crosses over into loud, uniquely cut jackets, blouses and pants for both men and women. The real winner however, is the friendly, relaxed staff, a welcome change from the stress-inducing bullies who lurk amongst the aisles in Yashow and department stores. Halla Mohieddeen
Yi Tian Rong Zhi
Location: 26 Yonghegong Dajie, Chaoyang District
Opening hours: Daily 9am-7pm