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Hong Kong star Maggie Cheung thrilled audiences with her acting skills, beauty and stylish outfits. Above: Cheung in a still from The Heroic Trio. Photo: Golden Harvest Company

5 of Maggie Cheung’s most memorable screen outfits, from In the Mood for Love’s cheongsam to the catsuit in Irma Vep and Hero’s period costumes

  • Former Hong Kong star Maggie Cheung Man-yuk, 59 today, won five best actress awards, and film fans remember her for her looks and stylish on-screen outfits
  • We pick her top five screen looks – including the cheongsam she wore for In the Mood for Love, and her leather jacket and silver sunglasses in The Heroic trio

After coming second in 1983’s Miss Hong Kong Pageant beauty contest, Maggie Cheung Man-yuk went on to become one of Hong Kong’s most celebrated and idolised actresses.

Cheung is known for her elegance and classic beauty. Add that to her memorable on-screen outfits and her ability to fully embody a character, and it is no wonder she has five best actress prize wins under her belt.

As the former actress turns 59 today, we recall five of her most memorable screen looks from a film career that spanned more than two decades.

1. Cheongsam for days

Cheung is widely regarded as director Wong Kar-wai’s ultimate muse, and the impression she left on viewers in the 2000 romantic drama In The Mood For Love only bolsters that.
Playing the role of Mrs Chan opposite Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Cheung appears in more than 20 stunning cheongsam, also known as qipao.
Maggie Cheung as Mrs Chan in a still from “In The Mood For Love”. Photo: Jet Tone Films

The colours and patterns on Cheung’s dresses, often seen in dimly lit or shadowy settings, draw in the viewer’s eyes.

2. A second skin

In the 1996 French film-within-a-film Irma Vep – directed by Cheung’s then husband Olivier Assayas – Cheung dons a skintight black latex catsuit.
Cheung as her alter ego in a still from “Irma Vep”. Photo: Dacia Films

Playing a fictionalised version of herself, Cheung navigates filming in a foreign country and stealing jewellery in the comedy-drama, all while wearing the catsuit and a pop of red lipstick.

3. An ode to Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The Hong Kong star is all glamour and wealth in the 1989 Hong Kong drama A Fishy Story, directed by Anthony Chan.

Maggie Cheung in an eye mask as Huang in a still from “A Fishy Story”. Photo: Fortune Star Media
Playing the role of Huang, an ambitious actress chasing fame during a time of political unrest, Cheung wears looks reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

From waking up with a delicate, luxurious eye mask to wearing a black dress with a three-strand pearl necklace, Cheung is a picture of elegance that would make Hepburn proud.

4. Edgy superhero

In sharp contrast to A Fishy Story, Cheung stars in the 1993 action film The Heroic Trio as Chat, a fun-loving, motorcycle-riding thief catcher.

Maggie Cheung as Chat in a still from Johnny To Kei-fung’s “The Heroic Trio”.

With a stylish leather jacket, a form-fitting black outfit, fishnets and silver shades perched atop her head, the actress exudes charisma and attitude.

The heroic trio is completed by the Oscar-winning Michelle Yeoh and Cantopop idol Anita Mui Yim-fong.

5. A blast from the past

In Zhang Yimou’s 2002 wuxia film Hero, Cheung portrays Flying Snow, an assassin in China during the Warring States period.
Maggie Cheung wears a striking red period costume playing Flying Snow in a still from “Hero”. Photo: Miramax

A skilled swordswoman driven by the death of her father, who died in battle, Cheung’s character is given the flair she needs with a beautifully designed period costume – in several colours, but most memorably in red.

The costume was designed with four shades of red to add more movement and depth to the already billowy fabric.

Catch Cheung on the big screen on September 23, with a screening of her 1986 film Lost Romance at the K11 Art House cinema in Kowloon.