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The ao dai (pronounced ‘ow yie’ in the south, but ‘ow zie’ in the north) is a versatile garment of ancient Vietnamese origin known for its unique beauty and grace. Considered a cultural symbol of Viet Nam, the ao dai is worn by women and men as a fitted tunic-style gown over long, loose-fitting pants. The exhibition features the largest survey ever of historical and contemporary ao dai pieces, many never before seen in by the public, from international designers, collectors and a royal restorer.

In recent years, the contemporary ao dai has made its mainstream debut on Hollywood celebrities as well as on the haute couture runways of Paris from top fashion designers including Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren, Claude Montana and Richard Tyler. Though originating in the mid 18th century as the national dress for both genders, the modern ao dai form only emerged in the 1930s. The exhibition takes the viewer on a journey through the past and present and combines traditional techniques with new global influences that embody both functional and artistic designs, representing the innovative spirit of Viet Nam’s ao dai tradition. (Source: San Francisco Quilt Guild)

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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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