This summer, China's aflame with a surprising new wave of ancient China styles.
A 70-episodes TV show called Story of Yanxi Palace, which airs on the Chinese online video platform iQiyi, recently set a record for web TV show when over 700 million people (half of the nation's population) tuned in on a single day.
The show has been at the top on Weibo's trendy list since the first episode debuted on July 19, and netizens across China are calling it a sensation.
Set in the 18th-century Qing Dynasty, the show follows the predictable yet relatable storyline of how a loyal maid climbs 'the imperial ladder' to eventually become the emperor's favorite concubine.
What's not cliche, though, are the show's well-rounded character, as well as its set and costume design. The authentic portrayal of ancient China style in the show has fashion bloggers obsessing over fashion details in long, fawning posts that track, fame by fame, all the show's wardrobe choices – from clothing and accessories to hairstyles.
Redefines 'Chinese luxury'
“The symmetrical scene and color coordination in the opening credit had a Wes Anderson feel,” wrote China's top fashion blogger gogoboi. Unlike the flamboyant color most TV shows in China use, Yanxi applies a beautiful range of muted colors that delivers a sense of calm and nostalgia.
The production crew was also intent on recreating historical details as accurately as they could.
For example, they sought out cultural relics repairers from the Forbidden City to work on the embroidery of an emperor robe that used 18 kinds of embroidery methods and would cost more than $53,698 usd (370,000 rmb).
The show also took inspirations from history books for its plots. In the show, the main character came across sewing threads made from peacock feather and mixed with gold and silver string to make an empress dress, documenting some of the brilliant real-life achievements of the ancient Chinese textile industry.