The Ao dai Museum on Long Thuan Street, District 9, was built and designed by fashion designer Sy Hoang. It opened in 2014 and is one of two private museums in Ho Chi Minh City.
The oblong exhibit, 200 square meters wide with a double tiled roof, displays approximately 150 ao dai designs. It carries a brief written history of the dress and also features the dresses worn by famous Vietnamese women who’ve made great political and social contributions to the country in the 20th century.
A recreation of the ao dai style adopted in the 19th century by the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam's last feudal rulers (1802-1945).
The unisex ao dai worn during art performances at the Hue imperial palace, the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty.
The old "Le Mur" ao dai, a 1940 couple's memorabilia of love, buried in wartime, is preserved and displayed here.
Artist Nguyen Cat Tuong is the one who translated the dress’s name to French. In the 1930s, he reformed the five-part ao tu than into the modern two-part design in use since.
Different styles of the ao dai through the years 1930-1940.
Since 1934, the women’s apparel revolution, "Le Mur," spread widely from Hanoi to many other provinces and marked a major change in how women of different social classes dressed up.
A 1950s ao dai design in the south of the country.
An ao dai worn by Nguyen Thi Dinh - the first female General of Vietnam People's Army during the Vietnam War, next to a bust of the leader.
To the left, an ao dai worn by Nguyen Thi Binh – former Vice President of the nation, a Communist leader and politician who negotiated on behalf of the country at the Paris Peace Conference. On the right, an ao dai worn by former Vice President Truong My Hoa.
The dresses worn by Phung Ha (L) and Bach Tuyet, two famous cai luong artists. Cai Luong is a form of modern folk opera from the south of Vietnam.
"Having the chance to see many different, beautiful designs of the ao dai helps me get to know more about the Vietnamese traditional dress,'' said Chi, a 33-year-old visitor.
Fabrics and accessories used to make an ao dai.
The building housing the Ao Dai Exhibition features Vietnamese architectural traditions. It is located in a 20,000 square meter garden that has a zen vibe to it. The exhibit opens 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. It charges an entrance fee of VND100,000 ($4.3), but is free for children under 6 and elders over 70.
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