Silk, called “Lua” in Vietnamese, was considered an extravagant luxury in feudal times, associated with wealth and success. It was only worn by Kings, Queens, and mandarins. Vietnam’s various dynasties developed strict rules regimenting the color, ornamentation, style, and fabric of clothes worn by aristocrats.Yem- traditional silken bra in Vietnam
The obvious value of Vietnamese silk is undeniable when many tourists are seen leaving the country with at least one piece of material, those in different designs such as highly durable Lismore Bud silk, plain silk, embroidered silk, and the versatile and absorbent satin silk.
Silk weaving is ubiquitous in Vietnam, but one of the most traditionally illustrious silk villages is located in the northwest of Ha Dong Town, around 10 km from Hanoi. Van Phuc is proud to be the most ancient silk village, which has produced smooth, lightweight silks for more than 1,200 years. The special beauty of Van Phuc silk has inspired many Vietnamese poems, songs, and movies (including the award-winning film The White Silk Dress).
The decorative patterns of Van Phuc silk are used as models by Vietnamese craftsmen and artisans when applying images to other thin and fibrous materials. Weavers here draw, spin, glue, and knit cords into silk, brocade, satin, chiffon, bang, que, sa, and dui (traditional types of cloth). They feature sophisticated patterns of birds, animals, flowers and leaves-even the famous 20m long “two dragons flanking the moon”.
Nowadays, the fine and lustrous cloth that originates from the cocoon of the silkworm has become more affordable for ordinary folk. Vietnamese silk is currently enjoying a fashion renaissance, its adaptability perfect for the range of designs required by modern life.