The Vietnamese Ao Dia is a high neck, slim fitting 5 panel dress, with side splits to the waist and generally worn with palazzo style trousers. It is the symbol of Vietnamese beauty and can be seen almost everyday in Vietnamese culture. It is often worn for formal and special occasions by women and girls of all ages.
Vietnamese Ao Dai Event
“Hanoi Connecting Five Continents” was a colorful event boasting traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai, music, dance and fashion. Staged outside in Ly Thai To Square in the hub of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the event was to honour the 125th birth date of Vietnam’s revolutionary communist leader Ho Chi Minh. The department of culture and commerce wanted to celebrate Hanoi’s cultural diversity with a creative collaboration by combining Vietnamese and international fashion designers with it’s expatriate residents.
French, English, American, Russian, Australian, African, Spanish, and Vietnamese beauties proudly paraded down the catwalk in front of government officials, locals and curious tourists. It has been along time since I have done any modeling, probably over 10 years, but this was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Cross Cultural Collaboration
The renowned designer’s NtK Nhat Dung ( Vietnam) and Diego Cortizas of Chula (Spain) presented their contemporary interpretations of the traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai. Both designers collections were inspired by Vietnams rich and exuberant artistic aesthetics. They applied an assortment of textile techniques such as hand painting, embroidery, beading and applique on a luxurious selection of multi colored silks, brocades and velvets. The designs themselves exhibited influences from Vietnamese ethnic hill tribes, french iron works and ceramic floor tiles.
Model Katerina Lamteva wearing the primary Vietnamese Ao Dai and a beautiful smile
Model Attaa Gyimah (Nigeria) photo by me
Nkt Nhat Dung putting the finishing touches on model Yen Tran
Gorgeous styling details by designer Ntk Nhat Dung
Me posing with my two favourite models Yen and Katerina
Vietnamese Ao Dai photo by Morgan Ommer
Vietnamese Ao Dai Photo by Morgan Ommer
With special thanks to my friends Hoang Minh Chau, Diego at Chula and Nhat Duong for making me feel beautiful, and Morgan Ommer for his lovely photos.
Traditional but Contemporary Vietnamese Ao Dai by Ntk Nhat Dung
It was 35 degrees in blazing sunshine, I was slightly shell shocked and extremely sweaty after 6 hours of fittings, rehearsals, hair and make up, but all the other models, organisers and friends made it such a fun and memorable experience. I felt proud after two years of living in Hanoi to be offered such a special opportunity to wear Vietnamese Ao Dai, the symbol of feminine beauty, and the pride of the Vietnamese people.
Have you tried on a Vietnamese Ao Dai? How do you think the Vietnamese National dress compares to other countries? Where are the best places to have Vietnamese Ao Dai made in Hanoi? I would love to hear from you, please share your experiences and recommendations in the comments box below.
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Hanoi Connecting Five Continents (Vietnamese language)
Morgan Ommer Photography