A former Miss Vietnam was scrutinized by critics after she sashayed
down the runway at a recent fashion show in Rome wearing a brocade dress
that appeared “too Chinese” in style rather than reflective of the
traditional Vietnamese costume.
Thuy Dung, who held the title of Miss Vietnam in 2008, paired the red
off-the-shoulder dress with half-trousers and an Asian conical hat at a
Spring-Summer Fashion show aimed at celebrating Vietnamese style last
A model shown wearing an Ao Dai designed by Thuan Viet.
The strapless dress, designed by Thy Nguyen, was embroidered with dragons, a pattern often incorporated in the Chinese qipao. The traditional Vietnamese costume has a high neck, long sleeves and trousers beneath, as Vietnamnet.vn explains:
Critics said the design was a “desecration” of the traditional Ao Dai long dress and was too Chinese in style.
Viet Hung told DTiNews, “We should minimise foreign motifs.
Inappropriate changes may fail to convey the beauty of Vietnamese
Costume researcher Tran Quang Duc, author
of “Ngan nam ao mu” (A Thousand Years of Costume), said Dung’s dress
resembled Van Cam brocade, of Suzhou, China.
Thy Nguyen took to her personal Weibo account
to defend the design of the dress, saying,”To take all this outfit’s
materials and mix them up with tradition is too narrow-minded. The
designer has the right to choose whatever material they believe
represents the outfit’s special qualities, even if it is from a foreign
source, and especially when mixing tradition and modernity.”
“Through the pattern, style, and design, one must be able to see tradition. That is the most important,” she said.
Thuy Dung is not the first Vietnamese celebrity to court controversy
for her take on the Ao Dai. Miss Vietnam 2006 Mai Phuong was slammed by
critics for wearing a version of the long dress that was deemed too
transparent and provocative, and almost lost her title as a result.
Hoang My, first runner-up in Miss Vietnam World 2010, was also
criticized for her “revealing” Ao Dai, as well as singer Mai Khoi, who
wore an ultra-modified version of the costume to an event.
[Images via People’s Daily // dtinews.vn tuoitrenews.vn]