[PHOTOS] Could These Costumes Be Too Sexy For The Malaysian Censorship Board?
You can always count on the Chinese entertainment industry to amp up the production value for period dramas, and it's no different for new historical series 'The Empress of China'
Starring Fan Bingbing as Wu Meiniang a.k.a. Wu Zetian, 'The Empress of China' is a 92-episode Chinese TV drama series chronicling the rise of Wu Zetian from a mere imperial concubine to the only woman in Chinese history to rule as an emperor.
Armed with a huge budget, no expense seems to have been spared for the series' magnificent and elaborate wardrobe design and production. In fact, Fan Bingbing's character alone is said to have 260 costumes at her disposal!
Believed to be one of the most expensive TV series of all-time in the Chinese entertainment industry, 'Empress of China' boasts a budget of ¥300 million (roughly RM174 million) with a considerable amount going into wardrobe design and production.
The fabulous gowns and robes worn in the drama are designed to give the audience the visual sensation of experiencing what the royals might have worn when ancient China was at its peak of wealth and power in a golden age of cosmopolitan culture.dramafever.com
While historically accurate, the costumes were deemed to be too revealing by the censorship board in China, causing broadcast to be halted until the footage was cut to exclude scenes where cleavage can be seen
It was indeed a mark of the time for Chinese women during the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD) to show off their cleavage by dressing rather décolleté, according to the evidence that Chinese works of art and cultural relics supply. Women felt free to show and express the fine features of their physical beauty, embracing the fact that showing their body was their own right and that the opinions of others did not bear weight — and, although highly criticized in doing so, "The Empress of China" reflects this.womenofchina.cn
Will the Chinese censorship board's ruling set a precedent for when the drama finally reaches Malaysian TV screens? Take a look at these costumes and judge for yourself:
Fan Bingbing's Wu Meiniang dons hundreds of gowns and robes throughout the series, from her early days in the imperial court, where the costumes were simpler in nature
Young Wu Meiniang favours flowy gowns that paint delicate pictures when she dances for the emperor and imperial nobles...
... or even when she is on horseback.
The detailed carvings and embroidery on her battle armour and cape are impeccable!
It feels as though the royals' nightclothes are planned down to the very last detail, down to their hairstyle and bedtime jewellery
Meiniang's wardrobe game ups its ante when she is officially announced as the emperor's imperial concubine...
... only to be taken to a whole new level of embellishments and detail when she finally ascends the throne to rule alongside her husband
We can't quite help noticing how the royal couple's costumes appear to somehow match each other's
As Empress of China, Meiniang - now known as Empress Wu Zetian - favours robes with heavily decked-out collars and delicately embroidered trains...
... such as this set of peacock-inspired robes adorned with dragons.
Fan Bingbing aside, costumes worn by the rest of the cast deserve notable mentions as well, particularly those worn Kathy Chow's Consort Yang...
... as well as those of the other concubines and consorts
The men also had the luxury of dressing up in stunning costumes, such as that of Emperor Gaozong (played by Aarif Rahman) and Li Mu (Li Chen)