|Female beauty: A design from Antigone Flower ao dai collection by Do Trinh Hoi Nam. — VNS Photo Vu Thu Hien
HA NOI (VNS) — Veteran artists symbolising Vietnamese beauty will perform in a festival to be held at Van Mieu–Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature) from March 1 to 4.
The festival aims to honour female beauty on International Women's Day this March 8. Nineteen designers from all over Vietnam will present their latest collection of ao dai (traditional women dress) inspired by flowers.
"Each flower has its own meaning. Designers chose a flower for their ao dai collection themselves to express their respect for women," designer Minh Hanh said.
"At this festival, people will see collections designed for all people, including mature women and men, children, and the disabled," Hanh said.
Ha Noi-based designer Do Trinh Hoai Nam has chosen the antigone flower for his 20-design collection. The Antigone Flower collection is made of silk, tussore and taffeta, with patterns of flowers and butterflies.
"All flowers are very beautiful. I think antigone has a mysterious beauty," designer Nam said. "The festival of ao dai will be a story of flowers. My Antigone Flower ao dai collection will tell a love story that has ups and downs in the emotions between lovers."
Ao dai collections by 19 designers will be presented at the Temple of Literature, which was built in 1070 by King Le Thanh Tong. It is regarded as the first university of Viet Nam.
Lanterns and candles will be lit from the Van Mieu–Quoc Tu Giam's main gate to Thien Quang Well (Well of Heavenly Clarity) in the third courtyard during the festival.
About 50 young girls from Viet Nam Women's Academy will dress in ao dai, welcome visitors and present them with lotuses. The highlight of the ao dai show on the night of March 4 will be the ramp walk of Tra Giang, Thanh Tu, Nhu Quynh and Italian ambassador Cecilia Piccioni.
The movie actresses are 70 to 80 years old and still represent the beauty of Vietnamese women. They have worn ao dai in daily life and on silver screen many times, but this is the first time the well-known artists will wear ao dai as models.
"I'm happy to model ao dai onstage. But I'm also nervous. I'm now 74 years old with a body that is not in best shape," People's Artist Tra Giang said. "It is an anxious time, but also a happy one."
She thinks the Vietnamese ao dai is the most beautiful and elegant wear. She always dresses in ao dai to attend major events. When she was young, she kept a large space in her wardrobe for ao dai.
Actress Thanh Tu thought she had been invited by the festival organisers to be a juror at the ao dai show, not to model ao dai, nor to perform while wearing it.
"To speak the truth, I hesitated to agree. But I think ao dai is not just meant for young people or for any individual. It is for everybody, whether they be fat or thin, tall or short," Tu said.
"One thing ao dai does is help to cover the wearers' physical imperfections," 72-year old Tu said.
The ao dai festival at Van Mieu–Quoc Tu Giam from March 1 to 3 is open to all. The ao dai performance on the night of March 4 will be broadcast live on Ha Noi Television. — VNS