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Classic chinoiserie taken to new, festive heights

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THE last crumbs of fruit cake have barely been eaten and Christmas trees tossed out when the sounds of lion dancers fill the air and kumquat trees in all sizes greet you everywhere you go. It's also a time for dressing up in something new, and Weekend Magazine has you covered for the Year of the Rat.

This time, we celebrate the classic qipao or cheongsam - and how fashion designers are taking it to new heights. It may not be a common sight on the streets of China but elsewhere, fashionistas are embracing it as a way to affirm their Asian heritage, celebrate global multiculturalism and, well, make a splash in a sleek, elegant dress. We look at how local and international designers are reconstructing the qipao and making it relevant for the new decade.

We also chat with Malcolm Wood - best known as the founder of the hip Mott 32 Chinese restaurant that's opening in Singapore this month. But he's also an active climate change activist and extreme adventurer whose love for nature, food and sustainability rules his business ventures.

Still on Chinese New Year, we compile some Chinese chefs' favourite reunion dinner recipes that are easy to reproduce in your own kitchen. To add festive flair to your home, we recommend some decorative touches to inspire you. And if you're changing new notes for that annual hongbao ritual, we suss out some eye-catching red packets to hand out.

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