A design of Minh Hanh will be introduce on Italy TV.  

Italian national television Rai has invited designer Minh Hanh to show her collection of ao dai’s, Vietnam’s traditional dress, on a special show to be broadcast on Christmas Eve.

Hanh, one of Vietnam’s leading fashion designers, will present her Dragon and Butterfly collection on Alle Felde Del Kilimangiaro, which was shot on Monday.

The collection is a mix of classical European and ancient Asian styles and will be worn by 10 Italian models.

She will also give an interview on current Vietnamese fashion trends.

In June 2006 the collection made a deep impression on visitors at the Spring Festival in Rome.

Source: Nhan Dan, VOV




A top Vietnamese designer and two young colleagues will dress up a bevy of beauties for Thanh Nien’s annual fashion and music bash scheduled for Dec. 30-31.


Kieu Viet Lien, the only Vietnamese to obtain certificates from Richard Ribinson’s Fashion School in Canada and Haute Couture-ESMOD in France, was nevertheless, nervous before the big event.

“Charming Vietnam is such a big name that all designers are anxious for our dresses to be distinctive.”

Her collection at the 16th Charming Vietnam would be her most carefully done and feature gemstones and crystals.

Her younger counterparts, Thuan Viet and Angel Phan, real name Phan Thi Phung, both around 25, were also nervous.

Thuan Viet, whose Ao dai (Vietnamese traditional costume) collection will feature for the second time at Charming Vietnam, said: “This is such a great opportunity and challenge that I am trying my best to make my dresses impressive.”

Viet, who worked under his senior Sy Hoang last year, was also, however, happy to come out of the shadow and put on his own display, titled Night sea paradise.

Phan, a newcomer to Charming Vietnam, said she had visited mountain town Sapa and some provinces in the north to pick up unusual materials for her collection, Wave.

A student beauty and model, Phan has become one of Vietnam’s most talented designers.

The three will use over 30 top models, including 2005 Miss Universe, Russia’s Natalie Glebova; Miss Thailand 2006, Charm Warin Osathmond; the current Miss Vietnam, Mai Phuong Thuy; and the two runners-up, Luu Bao Anh and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan.

As usual, the event will also feature popular local and overseas singers and performers.

Overseas Vietnamese composer and singer Duc Huy, and Vietnamese beauty queen and international magician Ngo My Uyen will host the show themed ‘Moon’.

Charming Vietnam (Duyen dang Viet Nam) was launched by Thanh Nien in 1990 to raise funds for the Nguyen Thai Binh Scholarship Fund for economically disadvantaged students.

Now the most watched show in the country, it has so far underwritten around 5,000 scholarships worth more than VND7 billion (US$436,000).

Last year it was held abroad for the first time – in Australia – to rave reviews.

This year it is scheduled to be held at the five-star Hon Ngoc Viet (Vinpearl) resort. 

Reported by Da Ly – Translated by Luu Thi Hong


Models in Vietnamese traditional long dress poses for a photo.

A performance of Vietnamese traditional long dress (ao dai) was organised on December 3 in Ayutthaya, the former capital city of Thailand, attracting a lot of Thai and regional audiences.

This is under the framework of the first ASEAN Arts and Crafts Festival (AACF) which was held from November 29 to December 3.

During around one hour, six collections of Vietnamese traditional long dresses and Vietnamese traditional brassieres through the performance of 14 models of the Kalawin Fashion House of Thailand attracted the audiences.

Audiences highly appreciated the collections whose designs and harmony of colours highlighted the value of the tradition and modernity of Vietnam.

Designs by Lan Huong performed in Thailand.

Designer Lan Huong said she herself chose high quality material such as silk and taffeta from provinces of Ha Tay, Lam Dong and Da Nang for her products. Therefore, her dresses are combined with features of famous silk and embroidery handicraft villages in Vietnam. This aims to honour the beauty of women and the cultural and art values of Vietnam.

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I adore Vietnamese ao dai so if you have any pictures of ao dai, please post it up and share with everyone. I know that ao dai in the bac region, trung region, and nam region are different from each other (nam and trung are very similar to each other though). They also varies in colors and patterns.

A little history:
A lasting impression for any visitor to Vietnam is the beauty of the women dressed in their ao dais. Girls dressed in white pick their way through muddy streets going home from school or sail by in a graceful chatter on their bikes. Secretaries in delicate pastels greet you at an office door and older ladies in deep shades of purple, green or blue cut a striking pose eating dinner at a restaurant. The ao dai appears to flatter every figure. Its body-hugging top flows over wide trousers that brush the floor. Splits in the gown extend well above waist height and make it comfortable and easy to move in. Although virtually the whole body is swathed in soft flowing fabric, these splits give the odd glimpse of a bare midriff, making the outfit very sensual. Rapidly becoming the national costume for ladies, its development is actually very short compared to the country’s history.
Pronounced ‘ao yai’ in the south, but ‘ao zai’ in the north, the color is indicative of the wearer’s age and status. Young girls wear pure white, fully lined outfits symbolizing their purity. As they grow older but are still unmarried they move into soft pastel shades. Only married women wear gowns in strong, rich colors, usually over white or black pants. The ao dai has always been more prevalent in the south than the north, but austerity drives after 1975 meant it was rarely anywhere seen for a number of years as it was considered an excess not appropriate for hard work. The nineties have seen a resurgence in the ao dai’s popularity. “It has become standard attire for many office workers and hotel staff as well as now being the preferred dress for more formal occasions,” says Huong, a secretary for a foreign company. “I feel proud of my heritage when I wear it.” For visitors, the pink and blue of the Vietnam Airlines uniform creates a lasting memory as they travel.
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. It was not until 1930 that the ao dai as we know it really appeared. Vietnamese fashion designer and writer Cat Tuong, or as the French knew him, Monsieur Le Mur, lengthened the top so it reached the floor, fitted the bodice to the curves of the body and moved the buttons from the front to an opening along the shoulder and side seam. Men wore it less, generally only on ceremonial occasions such as at weddings or funerals. But it took another twenty years before the next major design change was incorporated and the modern ao dai emerged. During the 1950s two tailors in Saigon, Tran Kim of Thiet Lap Tailors and Dung of Dung Tailors, started producing the gowns with raglan sleeves. This creates a diagonal seam running from the collar to the underarm and today, this style is still preferred.

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As the music sets the catwalk in motion, Ralph Lauren models appear with his latest collection. This time it goes beyond his trademark Hamptons/neo-British image. His models are strolling elegantly above the crowd in conical hats and long silk tunics slit from the waist down, worn over wide pants. With such a look, it was clear that designer Ralph Lauren had fallen under the spell of the beautiful Vietnamese ao dai.

That was a few seasons past, and the fashion world moves on to new trends to satisfy fickle consumers. However, in Viet Nam and in Vietnamese communities worldwide, the ao dai enjoys a revival that will unlikely fade with the seasons. Its renewed popularity marks a resurgence of cultural ties. A younger generation of Vietnamese are discovering its charm. Yet few question its origins. Even among cultural historians, only a small number have placed importance on the development of Vietnamese costume. Thus, documentation on the topic is rare and often vague.

Lan Vu ©2002
San Francisco, CA
(this article has also been published by Heritage)


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Today, the ao dai is also surviving in the business sector. The official uniform of the government-run Viet Nam Airlines is the ao dai in pink (international flights) or sky blue (domestic flights) with a Mandarin style collar. In addition, banks, hotels, and other businesses encourage their female employees to wear ao dai because it exudes a dignified and attractive image for the company. The current fashion in Saigon is the high, rounded collar ao dai with slim raglan sleeves, and worn with very long, billowy pants cut on the bias. The sewing shops are overbooked with orders for this style of dress.

Outside of Viet Nam, the ao dai still maintains a strong presence. Although, it is solely worn during family events like Tet, marriages, and funerals/post-mortem gatherings, it represents a deep cultural bond which still exists for many overseas Vietnamese, despite the time and distance away from the country. Even for those too young to remember life in Viet Nam, the connection to their roots is embedded in them. Some have recognized and benefited from this connection. For instance, well-known design schools such as New York’s Parsons School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology boast a growing number of Vietnamese fashion design students. It is not uncommon that these young designers, as well as Vietnamese professionals seasoned in the field, derive inspiration from their background, in which the ao dai plays a major role. Years ago, designer Vinh Pham gained much recognition for his iridescent “Butterfly Imager” ready-to-wear collection, based on the ao dai.

Western designers such as Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren have all successfully derived ideas from Vietnamese costume for past collections. The peasant pants outfit (ao ba ba) and simple ao dai have been transformed into elegant haute couture adaptations. This, in turn, spawned a myriad of knockoffs among mass market manufacturers. The movie industry, with its captivating images of Vietnamese women in traditional dress, involuntarily promoted this look in clothes. Films like “Indochine”, “The Lover”, “Heaven and Earth”, and director Tran Anh Hung’s “The Scent of the Green Papaya” and “Cyclo” showcase the grace of traditional Viet Namese dress against an alluring background.

Among the Vietnamese overseas communities, video series like the popular “Paris by Night” keep the ao dai ever-present in people’s daily view. The series, like many similar variety presentations, often features ao dai fashion shows and famous singers wearing elaborate ao dai’s on stage. Ao dai beauty competitions like those in Viet Nam also take place frequently in America and in Europe. There as well, such events draw an impressive audience. This exhibits that though people do not regularly wear the ao air, it nevertheless rests ardent among their interests.

Some people are of the contrary opinion. They believe that the ao dai is becoming obsolete due to the influence of western culture and dress. They overlook, however, the fact that the ao dai has already survived centuries of repeated foreign subjugation and assimilation. It has weathered many social changes and fickle emperors. Yet in the simple modesty and elegance of its design, there rests a force which seems to defy the ages.

source – viettouch.com

This is Nam Phuong Hoang Hau from the Nguyen’s Dynasty

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I think this is a better picture of Nam Phuong Hoang Hau

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07:22′ 15/11/2006 (GMT+7)

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APEC leaders wear durumagi costume of the Republic of Korea (Photo: APEC Secretariat)

VietNamNet Bridge – According to APEC tradition, the host country of the APEC summit often prepares costumes for APEC leaders to take photos in on the last day of the summit.


This tradition began at APEC 1994 with Indonesia’s batik costume. After that, all host countries of APEC select traditional costumes for APEC leaders. 

At APEC 2004, leaders wore chamanto costume of Chile. To make a chamanto, a craftsman works for four months. The costume has two sides, light and dark. The light side is worn facing out at night and vice versa. The costume is decorated with various patterns of flowers such as dewberry, oats, grape, pensee and special birds of Chile.  

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APEC leaders wear chamanto costume of Chile (Photo: APEC Secretariat)

Ambassador Milenko, General Director of APEC 2004, said that Chile chose the chamanto as the costume for APEC leaders because it reflected part of the traditional culture of Chile. 

At APEC 2005, the Republic of Korea established a national committee to choose a costume for APEC leaders. The durumagi costume was selected from nearly 26 designs submitted by 14 provinces and cities in the country. 

Durumagi include two layers, with five colours, symbolising the five basic elements in Oriental philosophy: metal, wood, water, soil, and fire. The costumes were decorated with pine, bamboo and clouds, which reflect the loyalty and truthfulness of the man of honour and the aspiration for freedom and romance. 

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Vietnamese ao dai for APEC leaders (Photo: government website)

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For APEC Vietnam 2006, the National Committee for APEC 2006 prepared for this event for a long time. Finally, ao dai designed by Minh Hanh were chosen. Those ao dai have lotus patterns and different styles to be suitable for both male and female leaders.  

Those outfits will be worn by APEC leaders for taking photographs on November 19 at the National Meeting Centre. 

(Source: Tuoi Tre)