1925, ambitious graduates of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (a prestigious
French-sponsored art school) began a movement to beatify the Vietnamese
five-paneled dress. They wanted to liven the grimness of the dark
colors people were presently wearing. It was their optimistic response
to the world economic crisis of the period. Consequentially, some
women took to wearing sea-blue dresses with flowing white pants.
This inflamed the criticism of many traditionalists. They felt that
seeing women wearing these new colors would incite people to have
indecent thoughts. According to them, clothes existed only to cover
the body and to protect it from the natural elements. They were
not meant to be a thing of beauty. Nevertheless, some women insisted
on their new "modern woman" status, and continued to wear
blue and white.
set the stage fore the painters Cat Tuong and Le Pho to offer their
shocking modifications to the old dress. In the early 1930s, they
presented a series of articles and drawings detailing new dress
improvements in the publication Phong Hoa. Basic instructions were
also included so women could easily realize these designs. The"Lemur"
innovations included neck variations and sleeve changes like lace
collars and western-style blouse sleeves. Their dress designs no
longer hung limp on the body like the traditional five-paneled dress.
Rather, the addition of darts, the dress draped along a woman's
natural curves. People would eventually adapt it to different fabrics
and colors. Even dresses in bright hues of orange, green, and pink
appeared at this time.