Culture Culture

07/07/2021 - 09:51

Putting Hue heritage and landscape on Ao Dai

Having loved Ao Dai and Hue heritage for nearly 10 years, Ms. Hoang Thi Huong (living at 73 Ly Nam De, Hue City) has put Hue heritage and landscape on the Ao Dai by hand-painted art.

For Ms. Hoang Thi Huong, drawing art on Ao Dai is a passion

After graduating from the Faculty of Painting, University of Arts - Hue University in 2011, Ms. Hoang Thi Huong chose for herself the job of decorating and beautifying Ao Dai. While studying painting, she was passionate about fashion. Decorating Ao Dai is a combination of fashion and painting. Drawing art on Ao Dai helps Ms. Huong satisfy her passion.

Up to now, Ms. Huong has nearly 10 years of working in this job. After graduating from the university, Ms. Huong worked at Doan Trang Embroidery Private Enterprise. After accumulating enough experience, she opened Hoang Huong clothing art workshop at 73 Ly Nam De, Hue city.

She shared: “For me, Ao Dai is not only a costume but the pride in Vietnamese culture. It carries the identity and spirit of the Vietnamese people. I love the beauty and charm of Ao Dai, so I want to contribute to honor it. In later times, Ao Dai is increasingly being innovated and creative, and artistic painting on Ao Dai is also a creative type to make Ao Dai more delicate, showing the preferences and personality of the people wearing it".

Heritage patterns decorated by Ms. Hoang Thi Huong on Ao Dai

For Ms. Huong, each Ao Dai is a work of art. She often decorates Ao Dai with themes related to heritage, relics, nature, Hue culture, etc., both satisfying the requirements of guests and creating her own space for creativity.

The typical relics of Hue, such as Ngo Mon Gate, Citadel gates, temples, mausoleums, royal patterns, etc., are all put on Ao Dai by her. Sometimes it's just sketched or stylized but still creates an impressive and lively highlight for Ao Dai.

“Images of monuments, temples, and landscapes of Hue are loved by many tourists. After visiting the heritage site, many visitors want to record the sights they find impressive. They ordered Ao Dai and sent pictures to me to put them onto Ao Dai. Recently, I have drawn a series of 10 purple Ao Dai decorated with the theme of heritage and Hue royal patterns," said Ms. Huong.

Ms. Huong decorated the traditional Ao Dai with ancient patterns, imbued with ancient colors; innovative Ao Dai, with sketches, stylized strokes or abstract blocks; five-panel Ao Dai with heritage-related themes painted in one corner of the Ao Dai to create a vivid highlight. Ms. Huong also often transfers paintings onto Ao Dai.

Drawing on the Ao Dai requires careful attention to every little detail. Just stick a streak of color, the Ao Dai will be damaged, so the painter must ensure high accuracy.

Although painting on Ao Dai at the request of guests, Ms. Huong does not let herself be restrained, but always gives herself the space to unleash, improvise so as not to lose her emotions. Almost every Ao Dai is painted differently by Ms. Huong. She is always looking for something new to nurture her emotions, avoid stereotypes and boredom. With dresses with elaborate patterns, she had to draw sketches first.

Ms. Huong confided: "Different from painting works, the artist has to both clearly shape the Ao Dai and paint according to the emotions, thus, it is difficult, especially to harmonize the emotional flow while ensuring the details and aesthetics. It is not possible to put all the heritage image on the Ao Dai, but to divide the layout and proportions to make it look elegant and graceful when wearing. The image is also slightly stylized, emphasizing soft lines that match the material and fabric color. The color painted on the Ao Dai is a specialized color to avoid fading when washing."

To get the ideas and emotions for drawing on Ao Dai, Ms. Huong often goes sketching Hue heritage, landscapes, scenic spots or carefully studies royal patterns to ensure accuracy on Ao Dai. With Ao Dai having difficult patterns, she needs a whole day or sometimes a few days to complete.

In the trend of Hue building itself the capital of Ao Dai, more and more people start wearing Ao Dai. In addition to embroidery and beading, drawing art on Ao Dai is chosen by many people. As a result, Ms. Huong's customer base is quite stable. In addition to Ao Dai, Ms. Huong also paints artwork on dresses, bags, and shoes.

Ms. Huong confided: “I’m lucky to study and work in Hue, a place with many historical relics and cultural heritages. I love this land, I love Ao Dai, so I want to contribute to the image of Hue's heritage on Ao Dai. The joy of the guests when receiving Ao Dai decorated with Hue heritage is the motivation for me to continue to stick with this work."

Story and photos: Minh Hien

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