Cover Maggie Cheung's cinema style is something to be remembered on her birthday (Photo: 2000 USA Films/ Online USA)

To celebrate the screen icon’s birthday, we look back at the most stunning costumes she wore in film

In celebration of Maggie Cheung’s 58th birthday on September 20, we look back at her most beautiful and memorable looks on screen throughout her decades-long film career.

Read more: From ‘In the Mood for Love’ to ‘Irma Vep’: 5 Maggie Cheung Films You Should Watch

1. Irma Vep (1996)

The 1996 French comedy-drama Irma Vep, which inspired the 2022 HBO series of the same name, saw Cheung play a fictionalised version of herself. In the film, Cheung is cast to portray a burglar in a remake of the classic French silent film Les Vampires. 

The film famously depicted Cheung in a tight black latex catsuit and blood-red lipstick, marking a stark contrast against her pale complexion. The costume was reportedly sourced in a sex shop—and decades after the film’s release, this look is still a memorable one for cinematic fans. Alicia Vikander, who plays the lead in the HBO series, wore a similar costume in the show in tribute to Cheung’s look.

2. In The Mood For Love (2000)

Cheung’s Su Li-shen in Wong Kar-wai’s seminal 2000 romantic drama In The Mood For Love remains one of her most iconic roles to date—and the costumes the actress wore are just as memorable as the film’s moving plot and stunning cinematography.

In the film, which is set in Hong Kong in the 1960s, Cheung and Tony Leung play a woman and a man whose spouses are having an affair, and who slowly forge a friendship. Cheung wore more than 20 dazzling cheongsam—she was seen in a different one in each scene.

The cheongsam were created by famed Hong Kong art director and costume designer William Chang, who took inspiration from women’s fashions in the period In the Mood for Love was set in.

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3. The Heroic Trio (1993)

Cheung starred in the 1993 Hong Kong action film The Heroic Trio alongside Michelle Yeoh and Anita Mui. They play a trio of heroines—“thief catcher”, “invisible woman” and “wonder woman” respectively—who discover a villain’s plot to turn kidnapped children into dictators.

Their costumes were a celebration of superhero garb—think bright colours, tights and capes. Cheung’s character was a feisty, motorcycle-riding bounty hunter, and she was kitted out in a tough leather moto jacket and silver shades perched atop her head.

4. Center Stage (1991)

Cheung’s portrayal of the tragic 1930s Chinese silent film star Ruan Lingyu in 1991’s Center Stage won her the Silver Bear for Best Actress award at the Berlin International Film Festival in the following year, as well as a Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress in 1993. 

Her costumes in the film proved to be as impressive as her stellar performance: dressed in 1930s style cheongsam, Cheung was seen with dramatic make-up—elongated eyebrows and dark rosebud lips—a look popularised by silent film stars in the period the movie was set in.

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