Shape of things that keep coming

Overseas Education | 13 Oct 2017

Hong Kong posts another first by issuing qipao-shaped stamps, which will require precise album space planning.

Sheetlets feature stamps in the curvy shape of a dress familiar as the cheongsam, and one of the set is printed on paper made with taffeta fabric.

There was not much change of shape in the qipao, or "Qi robe," from when it appeared in the 17th century, when the Manchu (the Qi) began ruling, until the late 1920s. That was when tailors in Shanghai modified it into a fitted dress, which actresses liked. So it became a symbol of femininity and refinement.

Communists hated the look, but it was a hit in Hong Kong as Shanghainese tailors set up shop in the territory in the 1940s. It continues to attract fashionistas, particularly mature types.

We've adapted the look-ahead, modern term "the shape of things to come" that started with fashion.

It now matches any prediction but certainly doom-and-gloom forecasts. You could point to a dead dolphin on a beach and a nearby industrial estate and mutter about the shape of things to come.

Shape of Things to Come is also a song written for 1968 movie Wild in the Streets - hailed as "ludicrous" and thus perfect in the prevailing counterculture.

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