THE sight of pretty ladies clad in cheongsams parading against a backdrop of illuminated plum blossoms is a sure sign that a new lunar year is close at hand.
Elegant and exquisite, the figure-hugging traditional garment exudes Oriental chic perfect for Chinese New Year, as seen during the Miss and Mrs Cheongsam Contest in Gurney Plaza, Penang.
The 19 ladies aged between 17 and 43 who took part found it was a great opportunity for them to dress up, immerse themselves in the festive spirit, and win some prizes in the process.
Miss Cheongsam winner Elaine Chee, 27, said that although she had worn a cheongsam during photo shoots previously, it was her first time doing so in public.
“There wasn’t any occasion that called for a cheongsam before this but this time I will make it a point to wear one for Chinese New Year,” said Chee, a personal assistant to a financier.
She was ecstatic after claiming the crown, revealing that she had sleepless nights prior to the contest.
“I was cracking my head for the Q&A. But then I thought there would be no point memorising anything and decided to simply share my experiences instead,” she added.
Businesswoman Lynn Khoo, 33, walked away with the Mrs Cheongsam title.
She paid tribute to her competitors for the strong challenge they posed, saying that everyone performed equally well on stage.
“The cheongsam brings out a lady’s elegance and I try to wear it as often as I can,” a confident Khoo said.
During the contest, Miss and Mrs Popularity winners were also chosen. Shoppers voted for the candidate of their choice by placing stickers on the contestants’ fans.
Sherlyn Seo, 17, and Lim Li Fen, 35, were the crowd favourites in their respective categories.
“I’m deeply touched by the support from everyone here. The cheongsam picked out for me by the organisers was a very elegant piece that brought out my beauty,” Seo said.
The student, who loves cheongsams, said she had recently bought a red one specially to wear for Chinese New Year.
Lim, a fashion retailer, said she was quite nervous and at one point didn’t feel like turning up.
“But my friends and family gave me encouragement. They told me that even if I didn’t win, I would at least be able to wear a cheongsam and have nice photos taken,” she said.
Chee, Khoo, Seo and Lim each took home prizes worth RM2,000 for triumphing in the contest.
The event was held in conjunction with the launching of Gurney Plaza’s Chinese New Year celebrations recently.