BLOGS / R-KUDO
something never changes
While I was googling for images of "Áo dài", I got excited finding these two photos whose layouts are almost the same.
The main factors that make them look alike is the position and angle of the hats, Nón Lá, and the gesture of the ladies on the right of each photo. Another likeness, to see which you need to increase the lightness of the colour photo's background, is the plants in the park or the garden where they were walking.
Though it's ... kool to try to find similar things between these two photos, it's the difference that imparts something.
By looking at the dresses and colours of the photos, I could guess the time of shooting.
Possibly from late 70s and 80s, two ladies on the left are certainly highschool students in uniformed white dresses, which has always been an image of innocent Vietnamese young and educated generations. They weren't on a street, so they might be in their school garden to classrooms and the far left girl shows a little bit of hurry picking up her dress's tail to step easier.
For the most popular style of contemporary Áo Dài, usually with longer tails, that they were wearing, the ladies on the second photo could be from 90s or 21st century. But 21st century Vietnamese no longer go out dressing Áo Dài with such Nón Lá whether to avoid sunlight or to adorn themselves. Finally, the cutting of the yellow-dress lady's hair was favorites in the late 90s and it reminds me of my sister's hairstyle when she was in university. So, who could be these young women? Teachers, college students in an ceremony, receptionists, office ladies in banks or airline ticket agencies, etc.
From the stand of an architect, I think the difference in the landscape of these photos could say something also. In the past, civic buildings' yards were often covered with cement or concrete while today's yards are well invested for various types of better coverage. Architecture, including architectural landscape, will always be developing but local environmental characteristic would hardly do so. One of those, here, is plants.
More women now prefer international design. But more realize the value of Áo Dài in not just culture but also in fashion. Some designers want to make innovation for the dress, others try to create something extraordinary based on traditional features. Normal women pay more on expensive details and new cuttings, because in general, they understand it's the simple shape of the dress that make a Viet lady, at any age, specifically charming. In my opinion, the best Áo Dài design is the simplest it could be and I still love to look at ladies in Áo Dài from behind with the dress tail blowing in the wind. I guess the authors of these two photos above would agree with me and I imagine that one day, Vietnamese women still keep their own national dress and another photographer will unintentionally capture an image of two ladies in Áo Dài in a similar layout so that someone else may again analyze how things have changed. Has somebody done that?