History of Ao Dai by vietventures.com
June 27, 2006
HISTORY OF VIETNAM’S AO DAI DRESS FOR THE TET FESTIVAL:
- 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.