PORTRAITS OF "ÁO DÀI" - HOPE FOR PEACE & LOVE PHOTOBOOK
It is rightly said that Áo Dài is the national dress of Vietnam. Áo Dài contains a long history, traditional culture, and Vietnamese aesthetics, so it is the proud identifying element of Vietnam before the world. However, Áo Dài also suffers from cultural appropriation as some foreign designers wrongly claim the design as their own. In the past few decades, with the development of the Vietnamese fashion industry, many Vietnamese designers have attempted to revamp Áo Dài, only to create some sort of fashion disaster. Áo Dài walks in its history of transforming to be in sync with each particular era, ensuring its applicability and maintaining what is essential: its softness, its grace, its elegance, all of which radiates the delicate bearing of its owner. Therefore, these essentialities should be the framework for any creative touch on Áo Dài, the respectable symbol of Vietnam.
Publishing this photobook is a milestone that marks Chiron Duong's 365-day journey accompanying the Áo Dài and the people around him. The book will be a touchpoint so that Áo Dài and Vietnamese popular culture through Chiron Duong's perspective can come closer to the everyone around the world.
Chiron Duong (Dat Duong 1996) graduated from Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture and is a fashion and fine-art photographer in Vietnam. His biggest inspiration is the culture of Vietnam and Asian cultures in general. “I’ve explored (these cultures) and learned a lot from my research: The Asian color palettes are not only extremely vivid and uplifting, but they are also liberating, delightful, and they have so many stories to tell.”
“I strive to convey the mysterious sentiments of Asian life with its folklore and traditional beliefs. My instrument is photography: I strive to offer my audience pictures whose colors, materials, emotions, and technique manifest the interference of Eastern, especially Vietnamese, and Western culture .” - Artist Chiron Duong.
Dương’s awards and recognitions include The Picto Prize for Fashion Photography 2020 - First place; The 37th Hyeres Festival, France, 2022; PhotoVogue, Italy, 2022.
Through this series, I & Chiron Duong wish to tell different stories of Áo Dài: Áo Dài in childhood memories; Áo Dài in Vietnamese arts and poetry; Áo Dài in the love for Vietnam our motherland; Áo Dài in traditional, unique Vietnamese practices; Áo Dài in wartime as the hope for peace; and many more. All these themes are as vivid as ever when Vietnamese women garment themselves with Áo Dài.
Chiron Dương's presentation of Áo Dài was a daring but intimate perspective that inspired my design ideas for the book "Portraits Of Áo Dài - Hope For Peace And Love." I scrutinized each work, internalizing a sense of hope, peace, and love. Looking at the works, I can feel the serenity and outpouring of emotions in concert. I wish for the book to bring out the strong contrasts between calming and rushing, brilliance and fading, growing and withering, and most of all, filled with hope. To achieve this, I created flows, surging and soothing, that evoke calligraphic lines in a restrained way. Though the layout and arrangement of letters may make reading challenging, it is a new experiment of tradition and modernity that aims to give you more time to reflect on, discover, and feel the works and introduce contemporary Vietnamese art.
Portraits Of “Áo Dài” – Hope For Peace And Love
Year of Production: 2023
Author: Chiron Duong (Dat Duong)
Designer: Todd Huynh (Huynh Minh Thong)
Translator: Hoang Nguyen Minh Anh
1st Special Edition: 300 prints ( and 10 Artist Proof)
Signature: Includes Chiron Duong’s signature
Size 20x28cm (Vertical format)
288 pages of 115gsm Klasica paper
Hardcover covered with Curious Matter Red 135gsm paper.
Photographs: Chiron Duong
Event Photographs: Chiron Duong; Nguyễn Lý Trần Khánh
Cameraman: Chiron Duong; Nguyễn Minh Trí
Model: Dương Võ