Around 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.

This 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.