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Ao Dai collection maps nation's desire for peace

Update: June, 24/2014 - 08:18
Sartorial cartography: Models present ao dai in the collection titled Uoc Vong Hoa Binh by designer Thuan Viet. — Photo tuoitre.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — A new ao dai (traditional long dress) collection by designer Thuan Viet was put on public display yesterday in Paris to celebrate Vietnamese Days in France from June 23 to 27, and the show will also move to Brussels between June 28th and July 1st.

Titled Uoc Vong Hoa Binh (Desire for Peace), the collection include 12 ao dai made from Vietnamese silk. Half of the garments feature hand-drawn with waves and pigeons with 3D effects, while the rest are printed with ancient maps of Viet Nam.

"The most challenging task for this collection is searching for the proper recognised maps," Viet told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper,

"I searched a lot on the internet and in libraries, but I could not find quality high resolution maps."

He also visited the HCM City Comprehensive Science Library to look at researcher Nguyen Dinh Dau's new book, titled Viet Nam's Sovereignty on the East Sea and Hoang Sa (Paracels) – Truong Sa (Spratlys). He took photos of 94 maps displayed at the event, but was still not satisfied.

Viet then contacted Tran Thang, chairman of the Institute for Vietnamese Culture and Education based in New York, that has donated 43 ancient maps to authorities in Da Nang.

Thang emailed the designer 50 ancient maps and presented Viet with high resolution images when he visited Viet Nam.

The designer then chose images of Dai Nam Thong Nhat Toan Do (Whole Map of United Dai Nam) drawn during the Nguyen Dynasty in 1834; Atlas de Toutes les Parties de Globe Terrestre by M. Bonne, published in Paris in 1780; Suite de L'Ocean Oriental Piere de Hondt, published in France in 1746; Indes Orientale by Pierre Duval, published in Paris in 1677; and Nouvelle Atlas Portatif by Robert de Vaugondry, published in Paris in 1788.

Viet said the maps had also been printed on accessories used in his collection such as bamboo conical hats and paper fans.

His creations will be modeled to a background of songs about the country's sea and islands to a backdrop of images of the region.

Six models will perform at the shows, including Bac Linh, Ninh Hoang Ngan, Thuy Linh and Le Thu An.

Various noted singers and musicians will also perform, including Ta Minh Tam, Van Khanh, Tieu Chau Nhu Quynh and Mat Troi Moi, band as well as artists from the Bong Sen Theatre.

"I have worn many different designs, but when I wear these items, I feel especially moved," said model Thanh Hang, who was among the first to wear the collection.

"I also feel a little clumsy posing for photos because I want to expose the soft lines of the costumes and the strong spirit of the collection."

Designer Thuan Viet has also completed two other ao dai collections showcased earlier this year in Lyon named Nhung Canh Hong Lyon (Lyon Roses) and Duyen Dang Viet (Vietnamese Charm). The first collection includes six designs made specially for Lyon, while the latter features images of common flowers in Viet Nam such as the apricot, orchid and chrysanthemum. The patters were embroidered by hand and adorned with Swarovski crystals.

"I completed the two first collections very quickly, but I spent a lot of time with the third - Desire For Peace.

"With the latest collection, I want to confirm once again the Vietnamese people's desire for peace," he said.

"Fashion always follows current events and social situations. I'm sure I'm not the only one to think about putting images of our islands and seas on costumes. I believe the idea will become more popular among designers so the whole world will understand more about our people and country." — VNS

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