Designer’s ‘simple dream’ exhibition showcases glorious ao dai
sonnguyen 12-11-2020, 15:05
Traditional Vietnamese outfit ao dai was an inspiration for Thuy Nguyen to show off her creativity and aesthetic sense at the Saigon event.

At the “Mong Binh Thuong” (Simple Dream) exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City from November 6 to February 6, 2021, the designer has 60 works made of silk and brocade with patterns inspired or taken from folk tales, traditional china, crafts, architecture, and paintings.
The first room at the exhibition honors the ao dai. The outfit on the left was designed by German fashion house Jil Sander in 2019 and collected by Thuy. The ao dai in the middle resembles the traditional outfit of the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam’s last feudal rulers. The one on the right, made of chiffon and silk, is from Thuy’s 2016 collection.

The ao dai on display are all colorful and made from various materials. Thuy chose the name Mong Binh Thuong for the exhibition because the outfits and artworks are from her daily life.

“Artists usually want to exhibit their most glorious and intricate works, but curators are more objective and highlight the best instead of choosing everything,” Thuy said about Dolla Merrillees, formerly with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) in Sydney, Australia, who curated Mong Binh Thuong.

Inspired by southern Vietnamese folk opera (cai luong) My Chau, Thuy created the two ao dai with embroidered patterns.

Outfit of Queen Mother Duong Van Nga from the movie “Quynh Hoa Nhat Da”(Queen of the Night), set for release in 2021. Nga served as Queen Regent of the Dinh dynasty after her husband, Dinh Tien Hoang, was assassinated in 979 when her son was six years old.
After some people said the outfit looks Chinese from the Qing Dynasty era, Thuy is displaying it to hear more opinions from the public and maybe tweak its design.

Ao dai from the movie “Co Ba Sai Gon” (The Tailor). The Co Ba Sai Gon collection has many ao dai with patterns inspired by the geometrical elements of Saigon’s traditional floor tiles and mosaics.

In “Pho Pho Phuong Phuong” (Streets Streets), the designer has a Hanoi corner with clothes having pictures of the city’s Long Bien Bridge and railroad.

“Dong Day Ky Uc” (Filled With Memories) has artworks and other items created and collected by Thuy over the years, including pictures she painted, dolls given by her parents and ao dai she wore during her school years.

The working space of Thuy (L) and a traditional dress she designed for singer Hoang Thuy Linh for a music video last year.
Born and raised in Hanoi, Thuy studied fine arts in Europe before embarking on her fashion career nine years ago. She did not want to wait for the 10th anniversary to hold an exhibition, saying the nine years were fulfilling enough.

Photos by T.D.H.