Originally the Ao Dai was worn in the late 1800’s at the courts of the Nguyen Lords, the tunic was cylinder shaped, which in turn gave women no-shape, this followed Confucianism values beautifully.
In 1925 the Ao Dai was given a face lift after the Higher School of Fine Arts of Indochina opened its doors in Hanoi. Suddenly these students were influenced by the latest fashion trends of Paris, the same Ao Dai was given darts and a waist, this major trim-up revealed the women’s shape.
At first there was uproar as people were shocked at this new style as it went totally against the grain of Confucius rule. The youth of the time came to save the day, by wearing this which soon became known as the ‘garment of youth revolution’.
In the 1950’s designers from Ho Chi Minh city created the Ao Dai that we see today which is much tighter and slim lines the body.
1975, it was again in the bad-books as the Communist Party disapproved this fancy gender-less dress, then back in the 1990’s it made a comeback.
Totally supported by today’s government, wearing an Ao Dai makes one feel very patriotic. Today in Vietnam and all around the world, Miss Ao Dai beauty pageants are held attracting young Vietnamese women to compete.