My emails

June 26, 2006


Lan Le to TunaHead, Vo_N, Lan … More options Jun 24 (2 days ago) Hi… When you are back in the States, and if you are interested, take a trip out to Calgary in August. We are showcasing a cultural presentation at the Global Fest in Calgary, Canada, from 08/17/-08/20. The organizing committee has requested CVYG to provide 9 shows. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Cheers. CL Thanks Tuan for introducing us…



In collaboration with APACAF, Calgary Vietnamese Youth Group, proudly presents a showcase of the Vietnamese women’s traditional costumes, the Ao Dai, cultural dances, folktales, live performances and the distinctive rendition of traditional music that are the trademarks of the Vietnamese history and culture.

Entitled “Mot Doi Ao Me Ao Em” (Reflection of Life: the Roles of the Vietnamese Woman Through the Ages) will take our audience on a journey back to a 4000 year old culture of myths and legends. Our audience will catch a virtual ride along the streets of Ha Noi, Hue, and Saigon and become acquainted with a culture that is still very foreign to many… We will take you on a cultural journey to this exotic land where you will get in touch with amazing assortment of timeless fashion, of virtuous expression and of Vietnamese tradition.


On 6/26/06, Vu Cam Giang wrote: Dear Donny Tran, As I have told you, on Sartuday and Sunday, I have searched some documents and information on ao dai. As soon as I embarked on it, I realised that it was a really interesting topic, and we were not the only people engaging on the topic.

To make a little research on ao dai in Ha Noi, I have work to answer some of the questions:

1. What is “ao dai”? (What does the word “ao dai” mean?)
2. How did the ao dai appear? (How did the traditional ao tu than (a traditional dress of the Northern people in VIet Nam) turn into an ao dai?)
3. Where is one of Ha Noi’s oldest ao dai shops?
4. Where is one of the oldest villages for making silk for ao dai?
5. What is the most popular song about ao dai?
6. Why do the Vietnamese women nowadays rarely wear ao dai in comparison to the past?

I have found out the answers for some of the questions above, for example:
3. Where is one of Ha Noi’s oldest ao dai shops? It’s the house of Miss Pham Ngan An, one of the most famous and experienced ao dai designer. “She was born and wrapped in silk, for her parents ran a silk shop during the early 1930s at 28 and 47 Hang Dao, a busy trading street in Ha Noi’s Old Quarter.” (Huu Ngoc)

4. Where is one of the oldest villages for making silk for ao dai?

Van Phuc Village in Ha Dong Town (Ha Tay Province) According to the commune’s records, Van Phuc started making silk in the late 4th century. King Ly Thai To used Van Phuc sillk for Royal costumes. In its peak days, under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), Van Phuc produced seventy different kinds of silk for ao dai.

5. What is the most popular songs about ao dai?

The ” Ta ao xanh” ( The Blue Ao Dai) by Doan Chuan – Tu Linh.
“The wind blows in from all directions,
Arriving to flood my soul,
Awakening it.
My boat is but a leaf floating out to sea…”

I think we can use this song as the lyric in the film.

Moreover, we can have some interviews with these people, as I have found out their phone numbers:

1. Mr. Huu Ngoc, a renowned Vietnamese cultural scholar, who has a large amount of knowledge not only on ao dai but also on the differences between Viet Nam and other nations’ cultures.

2. American writer Lady Borton. (Do you known her? She has lived in Viet Nam for years and published numerous articles on Vietnamese culture, one among them is about ao dai.)

3. Minh Hanh, the head of Fadine (a Viet Nam’s fashion Institute), one of the Vietnamese designers that have many impressive collections of ao dai, which always appear in different festivals around Viet Nam (For example, Festival Hue 2006). She also plays a great role in marketting the image of contemporary ao dai to the world. Recently, under the French Government’s decision, she has received the title of Knight of Arts and Literature of France. (We can ask her for the diffrences between ao dai in the past and now, why most of her collections have the same topic of ao dai…)

4. Finally, to learn more about ao dai’s history, under Huu Ngoc’s advice, we can find information at the History Museum near the Red River and the Museum of Ethnology in Western Ha Noi.

I have visited the website: IT’s an interesting web. Also,I realise that the article about the ao dai performance night in Festival Hue 2006 is mine : )

However, I cannot open or So, let me know if you have more information on ao dai and what is your next plan?

Best regards, Giang


Dear Donny, I gather you’ve already seen this discussion of the ao dai:

A 2002 article (see below, or ), lists several artists in Saigon. Do Quang Em, Nguyen Thanh Binh, and Thanh Van seem interested in the visuals of ao dai and may or may not have any connections to ao dai experts. It is also possible that you could get help from gallery owner Mrs Xuan Phuong, who runs Lotus Gallery (55 Dong Khoi Street, Ho Chi Minh City, Tel: 848-829-2695, Fax: 848-930-3947, E-mail: Best of luck with your project, Erica

Erica J. Peters Culinary Historians of Northern California Phone: (650) 938-4936 Email:


Arlette Tran: Si Hoang’s email and Ms. Ngo Thai Uyen, 1 famous fashion disigner that also has made fashion show for Nokia.
Kathy Minh Bac hanoi, the museum of ethnology has a permanent exhibition of all the ao dai/ and other clothing from then to now, including the clothing from the other ethnicities in Viet Nam (hmong, mien, cham, etc.) ———————————————————–

hey donnie, it’s jenni trang le… we met briefly the night of the screening for BUFFALO BOY. you seem very enthusiastic and energetic and it’s always nice to meet new filmmakers in our community =) tuan & jimmy/nghiem are good sources for finding cameramen/dv renters.. but like anh minh said, you should just hire a cameraman who already has a camera over there.. cheap and he could help you out, being a local and all. when are you planning on going? did you check out the ao dai exhibit up in san jose? i heard it was really beautiful. i didn’t get a chance to catch it unfortunately. another person you should email is Khoa Nguyen, a friend of mine in saigon currently. he’s starting up a production company… tell him you know me. he’s viet kieu… originally from cali but living over there, pursuing film. his email is lemme know if you need anything… in the meantime, i just got back from viet nam so my regular groups (Mai Piece, Club O’ Noodles) is in a state of regrouping and reorganizing…. so nothing as of yet but i’ll let ya know. =) jenni 310 873 7333


Jenni Trang Le artist/lover/poet/filmmaker/”ba` die^n” 310.873.7333/213.353.0093

back in LA and back in action…Left my heart in Saigon… Hi, have you found the camera service yet? If not, here i give you 2 choices, my friend who works for Tuoi Tre Newspaper Publication has refered me them: – Crea TV, 61 M?c Ðinh Chi, Dist. 1 Tel: 8237434 – UNI AD, 224 Ðinh Tiên Hoàng, Ward Ða Kao. Tel: 8207084 Fax: 8206772

Then next is email of Ngo Thai Uyen, she’s very good at English, so you can contact her easily: Her company is at: NGO THAI UYEN INCORPORATED 72-74 Truong Dinh Street Ben Thanh Ward, District 1 Tel: 84.8.823.3585 / 823.0560 The German historian who has collection of Vietnamsese old images that i have mentioned with you, remember? Here is his contact, if you wanna write hin in German language, i can help you, just let me know, okie? Dr. Andreas Reinecke (huh, too many, right? but i dont know which 1 he uses most!) Okie, d’ya need anything more? Arlette


Hi Donny, I think chi Lan mention mid-July, but that’s something you have to ask her yourself to confirm. I hope this helps. ~Tuan


Hi Donny, We met at the VANG and VC film fest event. Since you’re doing a doc on Ao Dai’s, I suggest you contact chi Le Thuy Lan. She is the co-owner of Galerie Brigitte ( ) a Vietnamese art gallery in the US who sells designer ao dai. Chi Lan is also going to Canada to do a show on the history of the Ao Dai. She enjoys supporting the youth and sharing her knowledge. If you’re nice she might find some funding for you too. Good luck and take care, Tuan Kien Nguyen

Hey D, Did you get in touch with chi Le Thuy Lan? She would be a good source. I also know Thanh Le, who is based in Paris. He has been a modern ao dai designer for over 30+ years. His father was also an ao dai designer since the 1930’s. He has worked with Thuy Nga Paris by Night and a string of other main stream company. Here’s his website, it’s a bit outdated but the contact info on there is still good. I hope this helps. Tuan

Anh Donny Tran, Toi co thay la co VNCH cua Anh . Neu anh can biet nhung gi them ve^nghe thuat ao’ dai thi cho chung toi biet . Co the viet bang Phap’ va(n hay VN. Than chao Thanhle Paris —–Message d’origine—– De : Donny Tran [mailto:] Envoyé : mercredi 21 juin 2006 11:36 À : Ao dai vinh! Ao Dai Vinh Áo Dài Vinh 37, Road No. 3 District 3, HCMC Viet Nam Tel: (848)-835-7689 Cellphone: (+84) 090 777 5202 37, Ðu?ng s? 3 Cu xá Ðô Thành Phu?ng 4, Qu?n 3 TPHCM, Vietnam

We are Thu Lan and Cam Giang, If you need to contact with us, you can mail us via : with title: “To Cam Giang and Thu Lan”, or you can phone us at (04) 9332324 or 0989885858. Thank u for your reading!