Vietnam’s ao dai showcased at US clothing museum

March 12, 2006

Vietnam’s ao dai showcased at US clothing museum

The ao dai – tradition Vietnamese dress – will grace the catwalks and glass show cases of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in the United States next month, local media reported.

The Ao Dai: A Modern Design Coming of Age exhibition, scheduled for April 18 to July 9, will feature some 80 ao dai by three Vietnam’s leading designers – Minh Hanh, Si Hoang and Minh Khoa, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

Prominent ao dai designer Minh Hanh will present 30 dresses adorned with typical designs on tho cam, weaving fabrics by the ethnic minority people, as well as images of typical Asian flowers like chrysanthemum and lotus.

Sy Hoang, an artist and educator turned ao dai designer, will introduce ao dai for adults adorned with drawings designs and children’s dresses embellished with images from children’s paintings.

Young fashion designer Minh Khoa will display wedding ao dai and stylish dresses made from fabrics used to tailor Japan’s traditional costume kimono.

Royal dress

The show, organized by the museum in partnership with the Association for Viet Arts, will also showcase three ao dai used as royal costumes which have recently reproduced by artisan Trinh Bach.

Bach, whose mother came from a mandarin fam­ily of the Nguyen Dynasty, moved to the United States in 1972. In 1994, he returned to Vietnam to visit his mother’s home village in Ha Tay Province.

There the Vietnamese American was deeply saddened to see the ruined ancient cloth banners in Hong Lien pagoda.

On the trip he also met veteran artisans who used to embroider outfits and make other items as gifts for kings and mandarins.

Since then Bach has dedicated his life to recovering Vietnam’s ancient court attires and accessories.

In recent years, Bach and a group of artisans have reproduced many cos­tumes of kings and mandarins under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945).

Versatile and graceful

The ao dai is a versatile garment of ancient Vietnamese origin known for its unique beauty and grace.

Considered a cultural symbol of Viet Nam, the ao dai is worn by women and men as a fitted tunic-style gown worn over long, loose-fitting pants.

Though originating in the mid 18th century as the national dress for both genders, the modern ao dai form only emerged in the 1930s.

In recent years, the contemporary ao dai has made its mainstream debut on Hollywood celebrities as well as on the haute couture runways of Paris.

Top fashion designers including Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren, Claude Montana and Richard Tyler, have all at one time featured the prototypical Vietnamese dress, said the museum’s official website.

The exhibition takes the viewer on a journey through the past and present and combines traditional techniques with new global influences that embody both functional and artistic designs, representing the innovative spirit of Vietnam’s traditional ao dai, it said.

Founded in 1977, the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles is the oldest museum of its kind in the United States and in 2005 became one of the top 10 attractions in San Jose.

Source: Vietnam News Agency, Tuoi Tre,

2 Responses to “Vietnam’s ao dai showcased at US clothing museum”

  1. rachael Says:

    i love your decorators!

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