VN fashion pioneer works to preserve history

VN fashion pioneer works to preserve history

Daily glamour: The fashion show Điểm Một Thời offering insights into the country’s culture and lifestyle, takes place every night at HCM City’s Áo Dài Museum in District 1.

HCM CITY— The fashion show Điểm Một Thời (Once Famous), a cultural programme offering insights into the country’s culture and lifestyle, will be staged daily, all year long, at HCM City’s Áo Dài (Vietnamese Long Dress) Museum.   

The event was organised by Sĩ Hoàng, one of the country’s first pioneers in fashion design, especially the áo dài. It will feature Hoàng’s 50 designs of the traditional dress between the 17th and 20th centuries. 

A collection of traditional clothes originating from nation’s 54 ethnic groups, collected and remade by the designer, will also be included.

The first show, called Điểm Một Thời Âm Vang Đất Nước (Once Famous Echo of the Country), left a very strong impression on audiences on January 3.   

The 40 models on the catwalk were accompanied by music from a đàn đá (lithophone) played by folk musician Tuấn Trường.

“I have received support from my friends and cultural researchers to restage Điểm Một Thời after nine years of its closing,” said Hoàng, adding that he hopes the show will become a popular event for visitors and artists who love the Vietnamese culture.

Earning his reputation by putting a new twist on the áo dài over two decades ago, Hoàng is also a businessman. But the talented man said he was "still dreaming of catwalks".

"As I became experienced at decorating áo dài in the 1990s, I turned to painting and designing ceramics. In recent years, I have been involved in running a cultural park on 16,000 square metres of land in District 9 and the Áo Dài Museum in District 1," said Hoàng, in a recent interview with media.

"I’m among a group of people, who, through their work, are trying to save the country’s culture from being forgotten," he said.

The show’s two performances every night will be at 6pm and 8.30pm at the Áo Dài Museum, 77 Nguyễn Huệ Street, District 1.  

Once Famous

Điểm Một Thời was a tea shop offering fashion shows and Vietnamese tea served in traditional style. The luxury shop opened in 2002 and quickly became an essential part of life in HCM City for many residents.

During their tour to Việt Nam in 2004, Queen Sylvia of Sweden and her husband King Carl Gustaf XVI revealed their musical side when they played the parts of "cup clickers" during a performance of traditional Vietnamese music at Điểm Một Thời. They also watched beautiful girls in áo dài at a fashion show.

Hoàng’s Vietnamese style shop, despite its expensive prices, attracted a number of foreign and local artists and businessmen. Hoàng said his shop’s design was luxurious because he wanted to “show customers his royal style”.

His shop, which closed in 2007, was fashionable with the city’s young people thanks to its snazzy decor and quality Vietnamese teas.

Weekend fashion shows are the highlight of the tea shop and customers could view áo dài  in various colours and styles. They could even buy any design at a discount.

Graduating from HCM City Fine Arts College, Hoàng worked hard to make his dream come true.  He decorated his first áo dài in 1989 when the country’s first beauty contest Miss Áo Dài was held in HCM City.   

He painted flowers on áo dài which were worn by the competition’s winners. His designs impressed judges and audiences. The trend of painting on áo dài was born. 

Thu Anh _VNS