FOUR FLAP AODAI
17TH TO 19TH CENTURY
Due to the historical environment of the beginning of the 17th century, four flap aodais were influenced by the contemporary concept of virtue in which the features of women’s bodies were not supposed to be revealed underneath the outfits. The four flap aodais were vaguely trimmed with patterns or decorative motifs, moreover, its layers and form helped to cover the natural shape of the body. Four flap aodais were popular in the countryside of the North until the first half of the 1930s.
FIVE FLAP AODAI
17TH TO 19TH CENTURY
The five flap aodai was worn by high-class women in the cities of North and South Vietnam. It was designed to reveal the wealth and social position of the wearer. The five flaps also represented the five elements in Eastern thought: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth. Compared to the four flap aodai, the five flap aodai had some differences in the use of color, fabric quality, and decorative patterns. Nevertheless, the five flap aodai, with its layers of flaps and its large form was designed to obscure the body form of the women.
LE- MUR AODAI AND LE-PHO AODAI
The Le-Mur and Le-Pho were two famous styles of Westernized aodai at the time when Vietnamese aesthetics were influenced by Western culture. This was considered a revolution of costume style as well as lifestyle when, for the first time in the history, the aodai was designed to reveal the natural features of the women’s figure. Along with this new vogue came an evolved view of the position of Vietnamese women in the contemporary society.
"MADAME NHU" AODAI
The end of 1958 witnessed the introduction of the first aodai with the formal high neckline giving way a low and large one. This revealed the neck and part of the shoulders, with ‘rebellious’ pattern of upside-down bamboo, which was the symbol of a gentleman. This caused mixed reactions within the society. This new trend was not only about fashion, it represented the new lifestyle revolution of women in Saigon.
Despite the short fashion life (and flaps), the Hippy aodai took its place in the ups and downs of the history of the aodai. The image of Southern young ladies in Hippy aodais of bright colors represented the character of modern women of the South of Vietnam by the end of 1960s, where the influence of Western hippy life style had its moment.
The first "Miss Aodai Beauty Contest" in HCM City in 1989 was the start of the return of the aodai and its new development in modern time. Among many new trends of the time, most noticeable were the hand-drawn aodai originated by artist Si-Hoang and the tribal brocade aodai of fashion designer Minh Hanh.