Origami Ao Dai

June 27, 2006

Origami, Origayou (sorry!)

One of my great passions is Origami. When I was a small kid, I had an uncle who patiently folded all sorts of figures for me: birds, flowers, boats, etc.. He didn’t have any money so he practiced with old newspapers. I loved all his creations and collected the ones he made for me for a long time.

As I grew older, I gradually realized that my uncle’s pieces were simple and crude, and I only kept a couple of them, for their sentimental value. Nowadays, the art of origami has matured and evolved a lot. Instead of the usual cranes and frogs, origami artists are now boldly pushing the envelope and thinking outside the box, to use two tiresome clichés. For example, the piece above is a woman in ao dai, made by Phạm Diệu Huy, a member of the Vietnam Origami Group [http://www.vogvn.org/?view=index&language=English].

There are thousands of other websites dedicated to origami. One of the most famous is Joseph Wu’s website at http://www.origami.as/home.html.

I myself like the buddha shown below. It was made by Takashi Hojyo, whose website is at: http://www11.ocn.ne.jp/~origami/

His works are also shown at: http://www.damnfunnypictures.com/html/Cool-Origami.html

I give myself two years to reach this level of competence and creativity.

posted by Buddhist with an attitude @ 11:24 PM  




HCM CITY — Two American actors currently working with HCM City artists are swamping the traditional setting for Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s most famous play, for a modern Vietnamese one.

American director Mark Woollet and actress Candace Clift have been working with the city’s Theatre and Cinematography College since early April on a new production of the play.

Based in Lenox, Massachusetts at Shakespeare and Company, the two Americans specialise in training and educating directors, actresses and actors who regularly perform Shakespeare plays.

“Our experiment will combine Western and Eastern culture,” Woollet said.

The play as staged in Viet Nam will use indigenous nha nhac (royal court music performed under the Nguyen Dynasty) and feature ao dai (Vietnamese long dress) and ao tu than (a four-panel traditional dress).

Woollet said that other features of Vietnamese culture would be included in the play to make the play even more relevant to local audiences.

Lan Huong, who plays Juliet, said she was able to learn more about Shakespeare through this new adaptation.

Ha Quang Van, head of HCM City’s Theatre and Cinematography College, said the play had often been performed in Viet Nam in the Western style with a Vietnamese director.

“This is the first Romeo and Juliet to feature Vietnamese culture and to be arranged by an American director. It promises to be fresh and interesting,” Van added.

More than 20 students from the college will perform in the play. — VNS


Road show: A model presents an ao dai in the Spring Brocade collection that was inspired by Cham ethnic culture. — VNS File Photo

Vietnamese designer Lan Huong has been honoured with a chance to parade two ao dai (traditional womens dress) collections as part of the Days of Vietnamese Culture in Europe celebrations later this month.

Huong will present her taffeta, organza and silk designs in Spain and Italy as part of the festivities, showcasing more than 30 pieces through the Gam Xuan (Spring Brocade) and Pho Co (Old Quarter) collections.

Fashion pundits believe Huong’s ao dai creations convey the true spirit of Viet Nam and its local culture.

“Many patterns were inspired by Cham ethnic culture, Thap Rua (Tortoise Tower) in Hoan Kiem Lake, and the mossy clay roofs of Ha Noi’s Old Quarter,” said Huong.

The designer is also no stranger to putting on a show and impressing an international audience, having entertained and promoted Vietnamese culture in Germany, France and South Korea.

Huong also impressed guests at last year’s Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) meeting, presenting a lavish cultural programme to attending officials.

Events already featured as part of the Days of Vietnamese Culture in Europe showcase include photo exhibitions, handicraft fairs and displays of Vietnamese ethnic costumes.

Performances are also expected by artists from the Viet Nam National Opera and Ballet, Ha Noi National Conservatory and Cheo (traditional opera) Theatre. — VNS

Ao Dai Measurement

June 27, 2006

Body’s measurement form

1.Dress length (from shoulder to a point you like)
2.Neck circumference
3. Chest Circumference (measuring around your back crossing fullest part of your bust)
4.Waist circumference (measuring waists where cord settles)
5.Hip circumference (measuring around the fullest part of your hip)
6.Length form low of neck to part of chest
7.From front shoulder to waist (measuring crossing fullest part of your bust)
8.Back waist length
9.The distance between your bust
10.Sleeve length (measuring from a bond behind your neck crossing shoulder to your hand)

11.Top arm (measuring around your arm)
12.Measuring around the largest part of arm
13.Elbow (measuring around your elbow)
14.Handful (measuring around your handful, size depends on your own ideas)
15.Pants, wear shoes if you like (measuring from your waist to floor)
16.The large of pants length
17.Measuring around from the front of the head, crossing fullest part of your head, up your ears
18.Your height
19.Your weight
20.Your age

Thuy, a fitter in Ho Chi Minh City, says, “To create the perfect fit, customers take their undergarments and shoes with them for the fittings.” The pants should reach the soles of the feet and flow along the floor.
Comfort has not been forgotten at the expense of fashion and beauty. The cut allows the wearer freedom of movement and despite covering the whole body, it is cool to wear. Synthetic fabrics are preferred as they do not crush and are quick drying, making the ao dai a practical uniform for daily wear.

Vietnamese Ao dai history

The traditional dress for women in Vietnam is the costume that is called “Ao Dai” (pronounced “ow’ yai” or “ow’ zai”) literally meaning “Long Dress”. Early versions of the Ao Dai date back to 1744 when Lord Vu Vuong of the Nguyen Dynasty decreed both men and women should wear an ensemble of trousers and a gown that buttoned down the front. Nowadays, Ao Dai is a two-piece garment made of fabric, full-length dress worn over loose silk trousers reaching all the way to the ground. The dress splits into a front and back panel from the waist down. The dress length seems to be gradually shortening and today is usually just below the knee. Variations in the neck, between boat and mandarin style, are common and even adventurous alterations such as a low scooped neckline puffed sleeves or off the shoulder designs are appearing as ladies experiment with fashion. Women wear Ao Dai of various colors, often with intricate patterns and designs, in formal or work settings. Schoolgirls wear pure white, fully lined outfits symbolizing their purity.

Original design of Ao dai

Ao dai is literally the women’s national dress of Vietnam. It is a contoured, full-length dress worn over black or white loose-fitting trousers. The dress splits into a front and back panel from the waist down. There are many stylish variations in color and collar design. Originally, the ao dai was loosely tailored with four panels, two of which were tied in back. In 1932, a nationalistic literacy group called the Tu Luc Van Doan designed what is essentially now the ao dai.
A similar costume is worn by the men and is also called an ao dai. However, the man’s dress is shorter (knee length) and more loose-fitting. The color of the brocade and the embroidered dragon were worn only by the Emperor. Purple was the color reserved for high ranking mandarins while the blue was worn by those mandarins of lower rank. The dresses for mourning have frayed fringes a line up the back and may be either white or black, although white is the standard color for mourning.

Ao dai as a national symbol of Vietnam

To the Vietnamese people, ao dai has always been synonymous with grace, and beauty. Throughout the many trials and tribulation of Vietnam’s history, the ao dai remained unchanged in its symbolism and the image it conjures in the hearts of all Vietnamese. Today, due to its timelessness, the ao dai remained the national dress for both Vietnamese men and women. The ao dai and what it represents transcends all ages and it reaches the lives of people from all walks of life. To the Vietnamese people, rich or poor, the ao dai is still the dress of choice on social occasion and enjoys a preference on special occasions as well.

Aodai, an endless stream of emotion

Since the dawn of Vietnamese literature and music, poets and musicians alike have expound the beauty of the ao dai and the grace and beauty it brings to people who wears it. Nowhere in modern literature does an article of clothing have the power to conjure drama, romance and fate like the ao dai in Vietnamese literature. Symbolically, one can argue that Vietnam is ao dai and ao dai is Vietnam. Although the trends in fashion brought to the traditional ao dai many changes in terms of materials and western influences, the ao dai remains a timeless article of clothing that has the strength to unify people.

Ao Dai, from an international point of view

It is an elegant, demure, and yet sexy outfit that suits people of all ages. Anthony Grey described the Ao Dai in his novel Saigon as “demure and provocative… women seemed not to walk but to float gently beneath the tamarinds on the evening breeze.”. The Ao Dai covers everything but its thin fabric hides almost nothing! That’s true, Ao Dai is so charming and so sexy.

What does aodai4u bring you?

Have you ever looked so gorgeous and charming this way? Try it now, you won’t regret. Vietnamese ao dai is probably one of the best dresses in the world. Women look more beautiful (although they already are) as if there is magic embedded inside this national costume glowing tenderly over who wear it. Ao dai has over 300 years of history. Throughout the time, ao dai gradually gets beyond the border of Vietnam, reaches out to the world fashion. So, just browse through this site, enjoy the beauty of Ao Dai. It’s not a bad idea to get from aodai4u one for yourself, your wife, your mother, your daughter or your loved one and see them so lovely and happy with your gift.

Copyright © 2001-2004 www.aodai4u.com.


The northern-4-flap dress is Vietnam’s first “ao dai”, only worn on the occasion of the Tet festival. The brown dress with the two fore-flaps tied together and let dangling matches with satin trousers and silk belts. Then the 4 flap dress has been modified into a 3-flap one: the collar being 2 cm high, the sleeves wrapping tightly to the wrists, breast and waist of main flaps, there is also a minor flap reaching down to the fringe. Buttons are made of plaited cloth and buttoned on the side. The collar is turned up obliquely to let appear three color ( or 7 colors ) of the dress. The outermost layer is of brown silk or a kind of black gauze, followed by light yellow, pink, lemon green, and sky-blue… multicolored ones…., attractive yet decent, discrete and harmonious…
Following the Europeanization wave in 1935, Lemur Nguyen Cat Tuong’s “modern ao dai” made its apparition. It had puffed out shoulders, cuffed sleeves, a round collar cut breast-deep and laced, a corrugated fringe made of joined cloth of different colors and gaudily laced.
During the the 1939-1945 period there was a conflict on a esthetic concept, resulting in the restoration of the traditional ao dai. Young girls’ collar was from 4 cm to 7 cm high, the roundness of which was ensured by a stipt starching, the flaps were of a broad width and of a 1958 and the beginning of 1959, Madam Ngo Dinh Nhu’s low-necked, decollete ao dai was launched.
At the beginning of 1971, the raglan-sleeve ao dai renovated by Mrs. Tuyet Mai overcame the wrinkling short comings at the shoulders and the armpits.
From the early 1970’s to 1975 it was the period at mini and hippy ao dai widely worn with tights and flares until 1989. The first ao dai beauty contest was restored under the communist regime since 1975 and the traditional ao dai returned to its suave beauty of old times. All young ladies were encouraged to wear the white ao dai to school which has been banned since 1975 after the falling of Saigon. All such contests as school beauty, sports beauty has been organized everywhere in the country, ao dai is the main category in these contests. Now only the Tien Phong Newspaper beauty contest is considered the official national contest and who is crowned from this contest become the national beauty queen and she will represent the country in all diplomatic occasions. This contest has been official started in 1992 and repeated every two year sine then ( 1994, 1996, 1998).

  • Ha Kieu Anh, Miss Vietnam 1992-1993
  • Nguyen Thu Thuy, Miss Vietnam 1994-1995
  • Nguyen Thien Nga, Miss Vietnam 1996-1997
  • Nguyen Thi Dong Khanh, Miss Vietnam 1998-1999
The year 1995 was the crowing year for the national ao dai. Truong Quynh Mai’s ao dai was chosen the most beautiful national apparel in Tokyo… The 1995 renovated ao dai model suits well modern times, and is more beautiful at it’s tightened at the breast, waist and back, its collar evenly circling round from 4 cm to 7 cm high, the sleeves just tighten the arms.
Velvet ao dai, embroidered, painted and printed with flower pattern have created even more exquisite beauty features allowing Vietnam’s ao dai to take off ever higher.

The women of Vietnam have, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful national costumes in the world. It is called the “ao-dai.” The over-dress is form-fitting to the waist, with long tight sleeves. At the waist, two panels extend front and back to cover the long satin trousers underneath. Correct fit dictates that the pants reach the sole of the foot, and are always slightly longer than the dress panels. Occasionally lace is sewn around the bottom of each leg. Tradition has kept the color of the pants of the ao- dai to black or white.The traditional ao-dai has a high mandarian collar and is favored by most of the Vietnamese men for their wives and other family members, as well as their girl friends. Young moderns, however, often choose the newer “Madame Nhu” or boat neckline which is far more comfortable in the tropical heat. After the coup d’etat of 1963 when the Diem regime was deposed, it was rumored that this style ao-dai would be banned, but so far nothing has happened.

The dress portion of the ao-dai is often made of nylon and comes in a variety of bright colors and designs. The extremely dressy ao-dai is usually made from brocade or elaborately embroidered material.

When a woman sits down, she takes the back panel, pulls it up and around into her lap. When riding a bicycle, they often tie the back panel down to the back fender to keep it from getting tangled in the wheels. Often, girls can be seen riding along the streets of Saigon on motor bikes with the back of their ao-dai flying loose, causing foreigners to comment that they look like butterflies, and beautiful ones at that.

Many Americans have become so fond of the dress that they have some specially made to send home to their families. They make excellent hostess gowns.

Many of the Vietnamese wear plain black satin trousers with a short shirt for their everyday work.

In addition to these, one sees a variety of Chinese and Western-type dresses worn in Vietnam. The Vietnamese male however, generally objects to women wearing Western clothing.

The men have a costume that has been almost completely replaced by Western dress in Vietnam today. It is similar to the ao-dai, except the outer garment is shorter and not tightly fitted. They are usually worn by older men or in traditional ceremonies.

Children generally wear Western-type dress until they are teenagers. Little girls may occasionally be seen in the ao-dai on special occasions.