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Fashion designer debuts collection inspired by Vietnam’s famed folk paintings

Saturday, April 20, 2019, 15:02 GMT+7
Fashion designer debuts collection inspired by Vietnam’s famed folk paintings
A model walks at the fashion show of Thuy Nguyen in Ho Chi Minh City, April 17, 2019. Photo: Gia Tien / Tuoi Tre

A Vietnamese fashion designer has chosen to theme her debut collection as Dong Ho paintings, a kind of Vietnamese folk art known for its simple yet natural beauty.

Thuy Nguyen introduced her first-ever summer fashion collection, Tinh Tang, in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday, with models showcasing dresses inspired by Dong Ho folk paintings, an ancient cultural relic of the Kinh Bac area in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam.

The catwalk was covered with real grass, while the stage was decorated with such props as  bamboo window blinds and lotus ponds, so audience felt like they were watching the show in a typical Vietnamese village in the good old days.

Dong Ho are woodblock paintings printed on paper made from the bark of poonah tree that usually reflect the aspirations of people for a peaceful, happy and prosperous life.

Known to many generations of Vietnamese, Dong Ho paintings date back to the 11th century, with its birthplace being the Dong Ho village in the northern province of Bac Ninh.

A famous Dong Ho folk painting...
...and a dress inspired by the painting

Models wearing Thuy Nguyen’s Dong Ho paintings-inspired costumes walked the catwalk with the melody of Muoi Nho, a Vietnamese folk song that was particularly rearranged for a fashion show by Vietnam’s renowned traditional musician Ngo Hong Quang.

The song played a crucial role in making the setting of the fashion show both contemporary and traditional.

Just like the show’s atmosphere, Thuy Nguyen’s dresses were contemporary costumes bearing a Vietnamese traditional pattern, showing an integration of Vietnamese culture and modern fashion.

In addition to the patterns, her designing technique also bore resemblance to how Dong Ho paintings were created.

With the paintings most known for the color-layering technique, Thuy Nguyen layered fabric and embroidery with other details done manually in order to create a unique three-dimensional visual effect.

A famous Dong Ho folk painting...

...and a dress inspired by the painting.

Another unique attribute of the collection was Thuy Nguyen’s technique when working with different types of fabric.

For instance, instead of using conventional accordion pleat fabric, the designer manually pleated organza sheer fabric with various methods including hand pleating.

This pattern was inspired by the three-dimensional and tangible attributes found on Dong Ho paintings.

The most important feature of the collection was the colors the young Vietnamese designer carefully chose for her dresses.

Bright colors, similar to those of Dong Ho folk paintings, such as red, green, purple, pink, and orange, among others, gave the runway a fresh and energetic look.


Thuy Nguyen did not just stop there as her choice of accessories was not conventional either with hundreds of handmade heels, intricately decorated earrings, and traditional hats.

All of the outfits were a fusion of contemporary and traditional fashion, making the show a unique experience. 

Thuy Nguyen is a Vietnamese designer known for her own fashion brand Thuy Design House, which was first introduced to the public in 2011.

Thuy Nguyen is known for her feminine designs that always bear traditional feature as she seeks inspiration from nature and traditions.

Here are some of the photos of Thuy Nguyen’s summer collection Tinh Tang


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