Reviving Vietnamese costumes from the Nguyen Dynasty

Reviving Vietnamese costumes from the Nguyen Dynasty


Bringing back the ancient Vietnamese costumes from the Nguyen dynasty has given the younger generation many meaningful cultural features imbued with national identity.

The designs of Vietnamese traditional costumes in the Nguyen dynasty were made by Thuy Trung Nguyet and Dai Nam Chan Anh, two design groups founded by Nguyen Thi Quynh Nga. Nga said, "I'm not a costume designer. What I do is just look in the past, to recall the image of ancient Vietnamese costumes. Of course, my designs are imbued with personal imprints through the colors, and the patterns.

Her latest success is the exhibition “Vietnamese costumes of the Nguyen dynasty” taking place at the Mu Lala Art Space. When going to the exhibition, visitors can see and experience ancient costumes from the Nguyen dynasty.


The highlight of the exhibition is the Nhat Binh shirt which belonged to Phan Thi Tiep, the wife of Cao Xuan Duc (1843-1923), one of the four top officials in the Nguyen dynasty. This shirt was a royal gift to Tiep when she became the first lady. The pattern on the shirt was originally designed by her and woven abroad, then sent to Vietnam for implementation. For the collar, she ordered embroiderers in the north to sew it on the Nhat Binh shirt.


Nga’s products are a unique combination of traditional culture and a novel, creative personality. The shirts she redesigned no longer have a traditional collar sewn in a circular shape, but a modern collar. This is a pattern that changed the Vietnamese people's view of beauty in the 1930s when the Western invasion led to cultural interference.


At the exhibition, Quynh Nga also displayed a number of antiques from the Nguyen dynasty, such as combs, bracelets, and umbrellas that she had to spend a lot of time on research and collecting. 

“We have tried our best to revive everything that our grandparents left behind to get people to enjoy the forgotten old images and help them better understand Vietnam's ancient costumes as well as the long-lasting cultural traditions of the nation”.

Nguyen Thi Quynh Nga