At her No. 46 Fangjia Hutong studio, Lingxifang, Designer Xu Dong finds unconventional fabrics (like snakeskin print silk) for qipaos, but uses traditional embroidery and construction techniques. Garments are about 80% handmade by a tailor who schooled under Yang Chenggui, one of China’s most famous Qipao masters. Xu Dong, descended from the Qing imperial family like most Manchus in Beijing, grew up in a courtyard house nearby her studio, not five minutes from the Confucius temple. Now she commutes from an apartment by the Fourth Ring Road.

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