Wong Kar-wai's "In the mood for love"(2000), starring Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung, garnered widespread critical acclaim, depicting sensuality through music, noir light, and intimate space. The film being set in Hong Kong 1962, the exoticism was highlighted by Maggie Cheung's Chinese dress, cheongsam (or qipao in Mandarin Chinese, also known in English as a mandarin gown). The stylish and often tight-fitting cheongsam or qipao (chipao) that is most often associated with today was created in the 1920s in Shanghai and was made fashionable by socialites and upperclass women. With her tall slender body with crane’s neck, Cheung makes the cheongsam elegant, modern, sophisticated and conservative without even trying.
William Chang, who is credited with art direction, film editing, costume and make-up design, essentially makes the movie a fashion editorial in motion. Sticking to the way history played, he used a mixture of Chinese and Western prints on unconventional material alternatives to the traditional brocade silk. Think floral on cotton sateen, or mod geometric patterns on linen. Every cheongsam simply popped out of noir-style art direction.