Gargantuan ‘ao dai’ commemorates history, tradition
17:09′ 25/01/2008 (GMT+7)

The patterns on “Hoi Trung Duong” ao dai

VietNamNet Bridge – Vo Viet Chung, the first Vietnamese fashion designer to be introduced by international fashion channel Fashion TV, has a big surprise for fans and audiences with her project to design an ao dai with 1,000m of cloth.

Hoi Trung Duong, the name of this giant ao dai, will be made to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi capital and will be in the Vietnam Record Book. Chung said the ao dai will be completed in June 2008. So far, it is half finished and has already cost VND1 billion.

“When I attended a training course in Italy in 2001-2002, I saw a night gown by a European designer that was 100m long. I thought to myself, I will do that with a Vietnamese ao dai, and in early 2007 I began working on the project,” Chung said.

Chung said it will be traditional, featuring nine flying dragons on the laps, which symbolize the nine rivers in the Mekong Delta. She is using 1,000m of cloth, commemorating the 1,000 year old capital of Hanoi. Looking at the ao dai, one can see Thang Long – Ha Noi in its flying dragons, the Mekong Delta in the water and clouds and practically feel the memory of the former capital Hue in the Nguyen-dynasty based patterns. He named this ao dai Hoi Trung Duong – rediscovering history.

“However, as I’m a southern man, you can see the silhouette of Queen Nam Phuong as well, if you look at it carefully,” he said.

The materials are also worth mentioning. “I used materials from the three regions of Vietnam. Van Phuc and Ha Dong silk represent the north. The central region contributes Da Nang and Lam Dong silk while Tan Chau and My A silk are Southern specialties. These traditional materials will be ornamented with modern silk, Phuoc Thinh,” the designer explained.

Over 20 skilled embroiders are working on this project and each of them specialize in a single task. Some make dragon heads; others work on dragon bodies and waves, water, etc.

The key elements of this ao dai are being produced at Vo Viet Chung shop and the remainder is allocated to various groups of artisans. Chung’s assistant, an experienced artisan, supervises each separate part. After each part is complete, Chung will assemble them to make the final product.

Chung said that to make this giant ao dai, he had to ardently research embroidery techniques. He uses typical colors of the Nguyen Dynasty, red, deep blue, indigo and purple.

The question is how the ao dai will be presented. Chung said he is making it for the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long – Ha Noi in 2010. “I’ve received many invitations to display it at exhibitions, but I haven’t made a final decision yet,” he said.

“I will bring this ao dai to an exhibition in France for the Vietnam Cultural Week to represent Vietnam’s cultural heritage. After that Hoi Trung Duong will be introduced in Vietnam for the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi,” Chung added.

(Source: TTO)