Ao Dai On The Heritage Path

With the theme "Ao Dai along the heritage path", the designers inspired and brought the natural landscapes or unique culture of the world heritages to their designs.

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Ao dai On The Heritage Path
The exhibition is held in Vietnam Women’s Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum

There isn’t a Vietnamese woman who doesn’t feel loved and proud when she puts on a graceful ao dai. And perhaps, there is no better place to tell stories about Ao Dai as meaningful and inspiring as the Vietnam Women’s Museum in Hanoi.

Towards the 92nd anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnam Women’s Union (October 20, 1930 – October 20, 2022) and responding to meaningful activities honoring the Ao Dai of the Vietnam Women’s Union, an exhibition highlighting 200 sets of Ao dai (traditional long dress) presented by 20 famous Vietnamese and foreign designers recently held at the Vietnam Women’s Museum, VNA reported Wednesday.

Ao Dai has been made a default by the community as a typical costume representing Vietnamese culture. In popular languages like English, the phrase “Ao Dai” has no equivalent meaning. This means that this kind of costume has been automatically considered by international community as a traditional costume of Vietnam.

At present, Ao Dai has not had a title corresponding to its value through legal documents and decisions. That story has been always “reheated” again whenever the community found a few cases of Ao Dai of other origins at museums and fashion runways in the world.

Whether it is a formal uniform (used in State and diplomatic ceremonies) or as national apparel, Ao Dai is always the first name mentioned by the public.

Ao dai On The Heritage Path
Collections of well-known designers showcase the heritage beauty with traditional silk materials. Photo courtesy of the museum
Ao dai On The Heritage Path
Many natural and cultural heritages through different patterns highlighting many aspects of life, cultural heritages and beliefs are introduced to visitors. Photo courtesy of the museum
Ao dai On The Heritage Path
The collections of Ao Dai were made from diverse materials and colours, contributing to bringing art and traditional features closer to the public. Photo courtesy of the museum

The exhibition, themed “Ao dai on the heritage path,” brings viewers to many natural and cultural heritages through different patterns highlighting many aspects of life, cultural heritages and beliefs.

The collections of Ao dai were made from diverse materials, contributing to bringing art and traditional features closer to the public.

Through artistic creations, the enthusiastic designers wished to contribute to “identifying” Ao Dai as an intangible cultural heritage of Vietnam, conveying a message that wherever it appears, the Vietnamese traditional long dress will be not be confused with any other outfit in the world.

Visitors to the exhibition will have a chance to learn more about the development history as well as the process of making Ao dai as well as materials of the costume.

Addressing the event, Vice President of the Vietnam Women’s Union Ton Ngoc Anh expressed her impression at the creativity of the designers and the beauty of the land and people of Vietnam that is depicted on the Ao dai designs.

Hanh said she also loves and often wears Ao Dai. When she came to the exhibition, she had more useful and interesting information about the history of the development of ao dai, such as seeing with her own eyes the thorns that produce the yarn, or the process of drawing yarn to weave the Ao Dai fabric.

Designer Cao Minh Tien (author of the collection “Hope” participating in the exhibition) shared: “My collection is inspired by the image of the frontline forces fighted against Covid-19 recently. In it is the most respectful affection, the image worthy of the beauty of the Ao Dai. This is an idea that requires a lot of concern because of the image of Covid-19 outbreak, but I want to convey to honor the medical team, doctors, the image of Vietnamese people working together to fight the pandemic, bring that image to all fashion lovers.”

Ao dai On The Heritage Path
Laura Fontan Pardo, wife of the late designer Diego Chula shared at the event. Photo courtesy of the museum

Designer Laura Fontan, wife of the late designer Diego Chula, said that Ao dai has connected her and Vietnam over the past 17 years. In this exhibition, the Spanish designer brings traditional Ao dai designs made of traditional material of Vietnam.

Ao dai, the traditional costume of Vietnam that is familiar among international friends, has a long history of development. Ao dai is diverse in designs and materials that varies in different regions.

The exhibition was part of the Vietnam Women’s Museum’s efforts to preserve and promote the values of Ao dai and bring Vietnamese heritage closer to the community. After the event, the Ao dai designs will be presented to the museum for continuous exhibition.

Hannah Nguyen