Yuen began to look for cheongsams on the street. Whenever people moved out of their homes and threw away rubbish, he would carefully look through it to see if there were any cheongsams inside.
“I learnt two things from [Chung],” Yuen says. “Observation and persistence. These are the two skills I have used to collect cheongsams until today.”
Hailing from a different age and different background, Vera Waters could not be more different from the trendy young man with the black suitcase, but the two share the same wide-eyed passion for the dresses.
Waters was an early leader of Hong Kong’s beauty and grooming industry and is the director of a skincare brand in Hong Kong. But when it comes to sharing her love for cheongsams, the graceful and immaculate 77-year-old is happy to sip jasmine tea and enthuse about how she believes the cheongsam can spread and illustrate Chinese culture.
“The cheongsam will never be outdated,” says Waters, who has been wearing the cheongsam ever since she was a teenager and insists on wearing one every other day.
Waters, who founded Hong Kong’s first beauty and charm school in 1965, believes the cheongsam accentuates a woman’s femininity and figure.
“The cheongsam fits the body shape very well.” Waters says.
Like Yuen, Waters is an avid cheongsam collector and connoisseur. Unlike Yuen, her dresses are not picked out from the rubbish but fitted and hand-tailored by master tailors. She owns more than 360 pieces, many with matching jackets, and her wardrobe is filled with cheongsams for all seasons in all colours. Attaching great value to the importance of mixing and matching, she owns hundreds of individual jewellery pieces to go with her cheongsam of the day, most of which are genuine diamonds and precious stones.
“[Wearing the cheongsam] can be seen as having a kind of individuality,” Waters says. “While everyone else wears suits, I wear cheongsams. It could be said to be unique.”