In these cold winter days I feel very nostalgic…Thinking about travelling, planes…with people I love…Last autumn I was fortunate enough to spend my honeymoon in two beautiful Asian countries – Thailand and Vietnam.
It was the first time I visited countries outside of Europe, and they were beyond all of my expectations – culture, food, religion, scenery…I loved and absorbed everything. Hopefully, I will have more opportunities to write about them, but being the true fashionista 🙂 :), today I will write about the traditional Vietnamese outfit – Ao Dai, and two important parts of Thailand income blend into one – Thai silk and fisherman pants.
I bought them both on my visit, and they remind me of the beautiful three weeks I spent there…and hopefully, I will return there soon…
Traditional Vietnam outfit – Ao Dai
Ao Dai and lacquer bracelet also bought in Vietnam
The Vietnamese “Ao Dai”, the long gown worn with trousers by Vietnamese women, has become the symbol of the Vietnamese feminine beauty, and the pride of the Vietnamese people.
Vietnamese women in colorful Ao Dai outfits
The Ao Dai was born as the costume required to be worn by the southern courtiers under the reign of the southern lord Nguyen Phuc Khoat, eager to establish a separate identity from his northern rivals, the Trinh lords.
The original Ao Dai was plain and loosely fitted, unflattering to the female body.
Ao Dai at the beginning of 20th century
It was not until 1930 when a group of French-trained artists, beginning with the Hanoian Cat Tuong , combined the design of the five-panel gown and French fashion dresses, which morphed in today’s sensual and elegant Ao Dai.
Sensual Ao Dai
Painters and sculptors began to model their subjects in Ao Dai, and artworks depicting historical female personages, including the Virgin Mary, became increasingly popular.
Viet – girl artwork
Today, the Ao Dai has become the Vietnamese woman’s choice of fashion for special occasions. The introduction of the raglan sleeve (sleeve that continues to the neck), the raising of the opening of the panels to a higher level, exposing the skin on both sides of the waist, and other features borrowed from Western fashion, add sexiness and sensuality to the Ao Dai. Yet the garment moves delicately with the body giving the wearer an appearance of modesty combined with self-confidence.
Ao Dai today
Many well-known Vietnamese fashion designers devote their entire careers to develop new looks for the Ao Dai.
Ao Dai on fashion runways
The Ao Dai for men is now worn only during traditional ceremonies, and mostly by men of older generations. The history of the Ao Dai reflects the adaptability of the Vietnamese. As people who constantly had to defend themselves against foreigners, they adopted products of foreign cultures which they valued and transformed them into their own.
Thailand silk fisherman pants
Thai silk is produced from the cocoons of Thai silkworms. Thai weavers, mainly from the Khorat Plateau in the northeast region of Thailand, raise the caterpillars on a steady diet of mulberry leaves.
Thai silk weavers
A single thread filament is too thin to be used on its own, so Thai women combine many threads to produce a thicker, usable fiber. The process is a tedious one, as it takes nearly 40 hours to produce a half of kilo of Thai silk.
Different silk patterns
Since traditional Thai silk is hand-woven, each silk fabric is unique and cannot be duplicated through commercial means.
Use of Thai silk in fashion today
Thai silk outfit at the beginning of 20th century
Traditional Thai silk outfit
Princess Diana on a official visit to Thailand wearing a partly Thai silk dress
Traditional royal Thai outfit
Thai fisherman pants are lightweight unisex trousers that are made very wide in the waist, one size fits all.
Thai fisherman pants
The additional material is wrapped around the waist and tied to form a belt. They are usually made of cotton, rayon, or silk. Although traditionally used by fishermen in Thailand, they have become popular among others for casual, beach, and even evening wear.
Princess Srirasm of Thailand
Thai fishermen do in reality wear this style of pants. They are also increasingly common among many men and women of all nationalities. They are well-regarded by being comfortable and well-suited for various purposes.
Ao Dai – The Allure & Grace Of Vietnam’s Traditional Dress
One Night in Bangkok – Murray Head