Ao Dai – Vietnamese Traditional Dress

Ao Dai – Vietnamese Traditional Dress
Ao Dai - Vietnamese Traditional Dress team

Ao dai ( Vietnamese Traditional Dress) is a unique beautiful traditional cloth of Vietnamese people. Coming along with the changes of Vietnam, the traditional long dress has developed a lot so far.

An ‘Ao dai’ space will open on December 11th in Hanoi in order to introduce visitors both in Vietnam and all over the world the traditional Vietnamese long dress. This space open for free at 18 Au Co Street in Hanoi’s Tay Ho district, Hanoi.

Originated from the cross-collared robe ( Ao Giao Lanh Bon Vat) in the 17th century, Vietnamese Traditional Dress has undergone many changes to serve the needs and roles of women at every period of time before gradually shaping in the 1960s.

Ao Dai - Vietnamese Traditional Dress

Ao Dai – Vietnamese Traditional Dress

This is One in a million costumes that is both discreet, suitable to flatters the graceful beauty, soft of Vietnamese women like their traditional dress. Ao Dai was used to be Vietnamese women’s daily costumes before the 1970s, the modern Ao Dai With many versatile features from design, material to pattern, is still an infinite source of inspiration for designers and fashion followers of all ages.

Cross-collared robe – Vietnamese traditional Dress in The past(17th century)

The early style of the ao dai was the Vietnamese cross-collared robe, its precursor was the four-part dress Of Vietnam in the past. The cross-collared robe often covered Yem Lot ( a traditional Vietnamese bodice), black skirt and a female belt which has the same color of four-part dress, but two laps released freely

cross-collared robe - Ao Dai - Vietnamese Traditional Dress

Cross-collared robe of Vietnamese Women


Four-part dress (body of 18th century – early 20th century)

To make cultivation and trading easier, the ancients made Vietnamese Four-part dress with two front laps that could be tied together, and the two laps sewed into a flap of dress. The ancients had to Sew the two behind laps into a flap because at that time the width of the cloth was only about 35-40 cm.While urban women did not have to work very much then they often dressed five-part dress to distinguish themselves from the poor working classes. As a costume of the popular class, four-part dress usually sewed from dark cloth to be easier for daily work

Four-part dress - tassels strap hat - Vietnamese Traditional Dress

The five-part dress has 4 laps like Four-part dress, which is sewn together into two front and back flaps like Ao Dai. The fifth lap was sewed under the front flap as a piece of discreet underwear.It has  A loose collar , and was worn popularly in the early of 20th century.

Lemur Ao Dai (1939 – 1943)

The daring breakthrough that contributed to the design of today’s Ao Dai was the “Le Mur” ao dai, created by Singer Cat Tuong in 1939. Unlike the wide traditional design , Le Mur Dress clungs The curves of the body with a lot of Western details such as puff sleeves, Heart-shaped collar and bow… This design was strongly condemned because of its indecent style so There were only stylish singers who dared to wear this Kind of Ao Dai at That Time. By 1943, this type of shirt gradually forgotten.

Lemur Ao Dai - Ao Dai - Vietnamese Traditional Dress

Lemur Ao Dai

Ao Dai  ( Vietnamese Traditional Dress ) with raglan sleeves (1960)

The way to sew in that time had a major drawback was that the wrinkles were very easy to appear on two sides of the armpits. In the 1960s, the Dung factory in Dakao, Saigon, who showed the way to Sew raglan sleeves on the Ao Dai .  With this way, the sleeve was connected from the neck to the armpit. The front flap was connected to back flap through the button of Ao Dai from the neck to the armpit and along a side.

 Ao Dai with raglan sleeves - - Ao Dai - Vietnamese Traditional Dress

Ao Dai with raglan sleeves

This way did not only minimize wrinkles in the armpit and allow the shirt to fit into the wearer’s curve, but also helped the woman to move comfortably and flexibly. From This style, the Vietnamese traditional dress has been shaped.

Ao Dai of Ba nhu ( a famous female designer ) (early 1960s)

In the early 1960s, Tran Xuan Xuan ( a female designer), Ngo Dinh Nhu’s wife, designed an open-collar dress, removed the former collar, or also called traditional collar, plunging collar.

 Ao Dai of Ba nhu - Ao Dai - Vietnamese Traditional Dress

Designer Tran Xuan Xuan with her own style of Ao Dai

The famous Ao Dai called Ao Dai ( Vietnamese traditional Dress ) of Nhu designer got a strongly condemned because it was against the tradition and fine customs of society at the time. Today, the crewneck Ao Dai is very popular for its comfort, and suit with the tropical climate Of Vietnam .

Read more about: Vietnamese culture and tradition

Narrow-waisted Ao Dai- Mini Ao dai (1960 – 1970)

In the 1960s, the Narrow-waisted Ao Dai challenged the traditional style to become stylish fashion. At this time, the convenient bra was widely used. Urban women with opened-minded wanted to flatter the body curves by the tight Narrow-waisted Ao Dai.

 Mini Ao dai - Vietnamese Traditional clothing

Vietnamese girls were wearing Ao dai ( 1960 – 1970 )

Near the end of the 1960s, Mini Ao Dai became popular among girls for its comfort and convenience. The narrow and short flaps came close to the knee, wide and did not have Narrow-waisted but still sewed to fit the body curve.

Modern Ao Dai (Vietnamese traditional Dress) (1970 – present)

After the 1970s, the changed lifestyle made the Ao Dai gradually disappeared on the street. However, from 2000 to now, the Ao Dai has come back with many different designs and materials by the creative and innovative collections of designers Vo Viet Chung, Si Hoang, Thuan Viet … Not only traditional style, but also modified into a wedding dress or some western festival like Christmas in Vietnam, short flap dress to wear with jeans …


Modern Ao Dai - Vietnamese Traditional Dress

Tang Thanh Ha ( a famous designer) with her design of Ao Dai

The collection for “Ao Dai” show

Located at LanHuong Fashion House, the show will display a plenty of samples of Ao dai from different historical periods such as the Ly, Tran, and Nguyen dynasties to these modern days. Moreover, the program saw the participation of famous designers, artists, musicians, and citizens of the city. That was a good chance to provide the guests with the beauty of the traditional long dress Hanoi in particular and Vietnam in general.

Ao Dai - Vietnamese Traditional Dress team

Ao Dai – Vietnamese Traditional Dress

According to Mr. Do Dinh Hong, a director of Hanoi’s Tourism Department, this show aims to create a new attraction to visitors as well as a meeting for fashion designers.

Visitors will have a good chance to explore the process of making clothes such as designing, tailoring, embroidering and finishing an Ao Dai. They can also exchange talks with artisans from Van Phuc silk village, My Duc silk village, and Trieu Khuc Weaving villa or Quat Dong Embroidery village.

The organization committee expects that the space can facilitate cultural and tourism exchanges.

Ao Dai - Vietnamese Traditional Dress

Designer Lan Huong who is a Hanoian woman

Designer Lan Huong who is a Hanoian woman, has developed a strong attachment to Ao dai. She has worked hard to promote the national costume to foreign friends for 20 years because of her passion. With the loyal passion, she was the first people to be awarded the Vietnamese Ao Dai Artisan title. Besides Lan Huong designer, there are a lot of other Ao dai’s artists such as Trinh Bich Thuy, Minh Hanh, La Hang, Minh Minh, Nhi Hoang and Duc Hai.

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