A Upon Time To Remember: Saigon Fashion In The 1960s - 1970s
In the transitional period, Saigon Fashion in the 1960s and 1970s achieved a level of “fashion" with a remarkable combination of West and East.
1 - The American-French Cultural Significance In Saigon City
When the French came to Cochinchina in the early 17th century, they probably never imagined that “The Faraway East Dream" would become a great cultural convergence. Despite suffering many unstable difficulties in the political relations of the 19th and 20th centuries, France and Vietnam still had cultural intersection points.
As the capital of light and art, the French brought knowledge, ideology, aesthetics, Etc. from the Western world to Vietnam. Saigon, which had been “open” to the South for a long time, was ready to embrace the new. However, the French did not homogenize; they respected, supplemented, and harmonized with the local culture. Then, people are familiar with dress shirts, dress shoes, dresses, high-heels, and national costumes for traditional ceremonies.
Vietnamese people have “banh mi", adapted from the French Baguette. We drank coffee, used chopsticks, and discussed art. There were also architectural constructions with Indochine architecture featuring folding doors and thatched roofs, delicately blending with the Western classical style. It can be seen that the French significance was all about cultural convergence and adaptation, creating unique and enduring values over time, paving the way for more innovation in the following decades.
(Figure 1 - Students at the Dong Duong College of Fine Arts wearing European clothes. Photo taken in 1919)
In the 1950s - 1970s, Saigon City welcomed a “new" trend: American culture. According to the Western cultural principle, urban life became more dynamic, open, stylish, and liberal. Hippie culture, movies, pop music inspired teenagers. If French culture leaned toward academicism, American culture was youthful, attractive, and seductive. However, both cultures also enhance diversity and dynamism in Saigon's life in every aspect.
2 - Saigon Fashion In The 1960s - 1970s
In the transnational era, Saigon Fashion in the 1960s and 1970s achieved a level of “moderned fashion", with a remarkable combination of West and East.
A turning point in fashion began with the modernization of the traditional “Ao Dai”. In the early 1960s, "Madame" Tran Le Xuan initiated a trend of the “Ao Dai” short sleeves, a fitted waist, and no collar - alluring, daring, but still modest and charmingly Vietnamese. Soon after, fashionable ladies paired this style of Ao Dai with silk scarves, cat-eye glasses, and bobbed hair. It represented a perfect image of Western and Vietnamese aesthetics.
(Figure 2 - “Ao Dai" was initiated by “Madame” Xuan)
Moreover, fashionable women became braver with knee-length dresses (mini dresses, A-line dresses, etc.) and high heels. They also didn't hesitate to wear bell-bottom jeans, suits, blazers, or Western pants. It shows that there were no limits to fashion. The Women were free and open in their timeless fashion combinations.
(Figure 3 - Saigon ladies look fashionable in short skirt)
Fashion for men in the 1960s - 1970s Saigon was equally sophisticated and elegant. On the streets, Gentlemen usually wore dress shirts, Western trousers, "John Lennon" style sunglasses and rode motor scooters. Breezy outfits like Montagut shirts were also very popular. Laceless Loafer Shoes gained popularity due to their convenience, suitable for both casual outings and parties.
(Figure 4 - Saigon gentlemen in dress shirts, Western trousers, and Loafer shoes)
Saigon fashion in the 1960s - 1970s was not just about clothing; it represented a dynamic and adaptable generation of a new era. It beauties because of its acceptance of the new and holding onto traditional values.
3 - The Influences Of “Old Saigon" Style On Modern Fashion
The "Old Saigon" style is not just for reminiscence but also an endless inspiration for today's designs, proving the enduring beauty that transcends time. Modernized Ao Dai, bell-bottom pants, blazers, and crop tops have never gone out of style for fashionable ladies. For gentlemen, they are familiar with dress shirts, Western trousers, and Dress Shoes. Moreover, laceless Loafer Shoes remain Gentlemen's favorite choice.
(Figure 5 - Old Saigon Fashion always endless today's inspiration)
Above is some interesting information about Saigon fashion in the 1960s - 1970s, a remarkable period in the memories of many generations. We hope this article has provided Customers with valuable knowledge.
Pierre Cardin Paris Vietnam
Content Creator: Nguyễn Hà Bảo Thy
Translator: Lê Lâm Bảo Ngọc