Book exploring modern ao dai published

Created 13 January 2019
  • PDF
Editor Choice
Share
(0 votes, average 0 out of 5)
VietNamNet Bridge – Many people agree that the áo dài tân thời (modern traditional long dress) or Le Mur long dress designed by painter Nguyen Cat Tuong (1912-1946) is symbolic of Vietnamese women.
Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam
Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

Family: A silk painting by painter Cat Tuong featuring his wife Nguyen Thi Noi and their first daughter Nguyen Cat Minh Nguyet in 1940. Photos thethaovanhoa.vn


Though it appeared rather late in history, in 1934, it rapidly spread throughout Vietnam and the whole of Indochina.

A reference book titled Áo Dài Le Mur và Bối Cảnh Phong Hóa & Ngày Nay (Le Mur Long Dress and Its Birth through Phong Hóa and Ngày Nay Newspapers) by Pham Thao Nguyen explores the fashion icon. The book will be released soon by Khai Tam Books and Hong Duc Publishers.

The book includes three main parts. The first part of 60 pages is about painter Tuong (literally translated as Le Mur in French).

The second part talks about the Phong Hóa and Ngày Nay newspapers to give some background on the birth of the modern ao dai.

The third part includes illustrations, sketches and the front pages of newspapers capturing the dress.

Dedication to writer Nhat Linh

On February 11, 1934, editor-in-chief Nhat Linh of the Phong Hóa newspaper opened a new column in its spring edition titled Vẻ Đẹp Riêng (Special Beauty) aimed at a female audience.

Tuong, a graduate from the Indochina Fine Arts College, wrote the column.

“Loving beauty is a common characteristic among people,” he wrote in the spring edition. “The fair sex has been offered beauty and gentleness by nature. So they tend to make up to make them more beautiful for themselves, for other people, as a respect to all people. Women’s value and happiness is making up and beautification.”

In 1936, Phong Hóa newspaper was renamed Ngày Nay and Tuong continued to host the column advising women on fashion and make-up.

In 1937, Tuong and his wife opened a tailor’s shop named Lemur Tailor.

In Phong Hóa’s 90th edition issued on March 23, 1934, Tuong introduced the first design of the modern ao dai.

Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

Cultural symbol: Cover of the book by Pham Thao Nguyen Lemur ao dai on Newspaper Phong Hóa and Ngày Nay.


Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

Modern dress: A Lemur ao dai design by Cat Tuong printed on Phong Hóa newspaper edition 90 on March 23, 1934.


Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

Big step: Cat Tuong’s pants designs were a revolution in Vietnamese fashion history. Photo tienphong.vn



Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

Influential: Painter Cat Tuong (1912-1946). Photo tienphong.vn




Some materials have been kept for the past 60 years by the painter’s son, Nguyen Trong Hien. The Vietnamese traditional long dress from the Nguyen dynasty, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, covered the whole body carefully like the outer dress of today’s Buddhist monks.

The design of the dress is the same, straight up and down the body. The dress consists of two panels: front and back.

On his first ao dai design published in Phong Hóa, painter Tuong made a change at the torso. The long dress was a little tighter here, enhancing the wearer’s breasts, which is a feature of western fine art.

Painter Tuong also came to order a special kind of bras for ao dai wearers at Cu Chung shop on Hang Bong Street, which specialised in producing coats and swimsuits.

This kind of bra is the first made-in-Viet Nam produced in 1935.

Vietnamese women were more confident to wear the bras with modern ao dai in public.

Not only dress, but also pants

“If I say this, few people will believe me,” wrote Tuong in Phong Hóa’s 89th edition. “Another important thing in women’s costumes is the pants.”

He suggested three new designs of pants: 1. With waistband tied on the side, may be closed with a press stud; 2. With open space in the bottom, tied with buttons like on men’s trousers; 3. Pants with bell-bottoms, tighter above the knees, easing the wearer’s movements.

After publishing all his modern designs of ao dai in the newspaper, in 1935, Tuong travelled throughout the country to introduce his designs to women.

In Hue, he met some members of the royal family and was invited to design a collection of ao dai Le Mur for the Queen.

He then travelled to the south to draw ao dai for various cai luong (reformed opera) artists including noted artist Phung Ha.

In 2013, Tuong was named in Japan’s Dictionary of World Great Names as a painter and a modern fashion designer.

Hien also revealed that in December 1946, when all Hanoians evacuated the city to the countryside to join the war of resistance against the French invaders, his wife nearly reached her due day to give birth to their child, painter Tuong returned home to take some medicine and clothes for his wife and their children. But he never met his family again.

Hien also said his father not only designed fashion and accessories for women, he also made designs for bicycles, created wooden items and toys for children. He also encouraged friends to open barber’s shops with hot shower services for men. He also taught painting at the Thang Long Private Fine Arts School and joined various charity works.

Designer Sy Hoang, who specialises in designing ao dai in HCM City, commented that Nguyen’s book was great.

“It’s not only a book on certain historical people,” he said. “It’s like a historical book on áo dài in Viet Nam at that time as a talented person’s fate associated with cloth and silk – a beautiful cultural symbol of Vietnamese people.” 

Various documents say initially, the French opened the Fine Arts College of Indochina to train workers for carving, painting, drawing and decorating furniture and houses for them. Yet, Principal Victor Tadieur discovered some talents among students. He tried to teach them oil-on-canvas painting and western fine arts.

The trial class on western fine arts in 1929 gathered the four best students of the courses 1, 2, 3 and 4 namely Le Pho (1907-2001), To Ngoc Van (1906-1954), Le Thi Luu (1911-1988) and Nguyen Cat Tuong (1912-1946).



By Tran Hoang Nam



Source: Source: VNS - Bridge

Maybe You Also Interesting :

» Science contests attract more and more school students

VietNamNet Bridge – National science contests for school students are attracting more and more competitors every year, according to the Ministry of Education...

» Cau Ngu festival excites crowds in Khanh Hoa

The Cau Ngu festival, an annual festival where fisherman pray for a good haul of fish from their catch, took place in Khanh Hoa between March 16 to 18.

» VTN Architects win three Green Good Design Awards

VietNamNet Bridge – VTN Architects run by one of Việt Nam’s leading designers Vo Trong Nghia has won three Green Good Design 2019 awards from the...
loading...

Popular News Categories:

- Asia & Asean  |  EU & Russia  |  America

- Facts  |  Urban  |  Faculty  |  Environment

- Business  |  Finance  |  Market Health

- Destination  |  Cuisine  |  Arts Music

- Cinema  |  Soccer  |  Sports  |  IT & Internet