Viet Nam News
By Phương Mai
HCM CITY — Many ready-to-wear brands in HCM City are offering áo dài (Vietnamese traditional long dress) in different styles and patterns, satisfying young women who want beautiful outfits for Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.
“I want to be charming for visits to my relatives and friends and for photos during Tết. An áo dài is always my best choice,” said Trần Ngọc Bảo Châu, who works and lives in Singapore.
Châu asked a friend in HCM City to buy her an áo dài.
“I’ll return to Việt Nam on December 28 of Lunar New Year (February 13). It’s too late for shopping,” said the 31-year-old Châu, adding that ready-to-wear clothes were her only choice.
Châu spent several days looking for hundreds of items on Facebook of ready-to-wear shops in HCM City.
Finally, she chose a brocade áo dài in pink with images of peonies from Hà Cúc, a brand which is famous among young people and celebrities.
Dương Tú Anh, the first runner-up of Miss Việt Nam 2012, in áo dài from the brand Hà Cúc. — Photo courtesy of Hà Cúc
The set of áo dài and a pair of silk trousers cost VNĐ2.5 million (US$110).
“For overseas or busy people, ready-to-wear áo dài is very convenient, while tailor-made clothes take at least 10 days to make,” Châu said.
This year, Hà Cúc offers six designs of brocade áo dài in pastel pink, fuchsia, red, pastel blue, black and white, printed with images of squirrels, cranes, orchids, peony or chrysanthemums.
According to a saleswoman at Hà Cúc store in HCM City, their áo dài are made of high-quality fabrics with elegant patterns, loved by many young people and celebrities such as singers Yến Trang and Yến Nhi, and Dương Tú Anh, the first runner-up of Miss Việt Nam 2012.
Meanwhile, Boxshop, which sells local ready-to-wear clothes, has introduced hundreds of áo dài designs in different styles.
The clothes are made of brocade, linen, taffeta silk, voile and cotton with printed or embroidered patterns of flowers and cranes.
Due to the popularity of the film Cô Ba Sài Gòn (The Tailor), a movie by director Ngô Thanh Vân highlighting áo dài, designs with dots and antique ceramic tile patterns are popular.
Each áo dài costs VNĐ399,000-950,000 ($18-42), depending on quality and design.
Nguyễn Thảo, owner of Boxshop, said that ready-to-wear áo dài were preferred by Vietnamese women, especially young people.
“We welcome hundreds of customers buying áo dài to our stores in 1, 3, 7 and Phú Nhuận districts every day. Our online orders have reached in the thousands,” said Thảo.
Trần Mỹ Tiên, a teacher at a high school in Đồng Nai Province, said she has dozens of áo dài to go to school, but decided to buy ready-to-wear clothes for herself and her daughter.
“I want my daughter and I to wear the same áo dài in Tết. Ready-to-wear clothes are suitable because they are not very expensive, and have joyful patterns and bright colours,” Tiên said.
Many shops also offer dresses having design and patterns like áo dài with a cheaper price, but same quality. — Photo courtesy of The Kat House shop
Tiên visited the gorDress shop on Điện Biên Phủ Street in District 1 to buy two áo dài in red at only VNĐ650,000 ($29).
“I earned a bargain,” she said, smiling.
According to a seller at the gorDress shop, the ready-to-wear áo dài are not as tight fitting as traditional costumes.
“We want to make women comfortable,” she said.
Apart from áo dài, many shops offer dresses having designs and patterns like áo dài with a cheaper price, but with the same quality.
While a brocade áo dài costs VNĐ950,000-1.5 million ($42-66), a dress with similar fabrics is priced for only VNĐ500,000 ($22).
Boxshop’s owner Thảo said: “These dresses are favourites of young people who want to pay less, but still have a pretty and quality outfit for Tết.” — VNS