It’s relatively well known that Asia is full of tailors who can whip up anything you can dream of in a matter of days – especially the high end brand designs. All throughout Vietnam, tailor shops line the crowded streets surrounding the mass chaos that is the fabric market.
(One of Ho Chi Minh City’s fabric markets)
In fact, one of the top tourist destinations for this process is the small town of Hoi An. Currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the former major trading post in the 16th and 17th centuries, the town still displays its western influences in its architecture and tourist industry. Aside from the amazing historical significance of this town, Westerners come with an agenda – to shop. Almost every store in Old Town is geared towards shopping. You can have dresses, coats, suits, shirts, shoes, jewelry, etc all tailored to you!
One store in particular is a small, independent local designer’s store – Papillon Noir. Uyen Trinh creates silk pieces with hand-painted designs. She began her first business in 1994, combining her love of fashion as well as the nature and personality of Vietnam. On a trip to India Uyen expanded her color palette and artistic style, combining fashion and art – adopting a western techniques. Her current store, Papillion Noir, was created in 2007, and continues to thrive in Hoi An with 3 different locations. In addition to creating beautifully elegant clothing, visitors have the opportunity to learn silk painting in her workshop. Below is a couple of shots of her boutique!
I wish I could have stayed in one place for longer! I’m currently getting a couple dresses and shirts tailored, but I could definitely go for a personalized wardrobe! It is interesting that even in the ready-to-wear category that unlike Japan, Vietnam has a rather Westernized sense of fashion. The structure of the clothes is the same, but the fabric may be a bit shinier or showy compared to the rather understated tones of say, New York. My friend and I are hitting up Saigon Square today to check out the ready-to-wear fashions, and you never know what kind of shiny clothes we’ll come back with!
I have to tell you, it seems as though every time I eat another meal, it becomes my favorite. The food here is so fantastic, and in the restaurants too. 😉
There is something to the little old lady serving up delicious meals to you while you sit on the tiniest plastic stools, meant for pre-schoolers in the US. The food is always hot and flavorful, and there is no pretentiousness about eating on the street. I’m seeing a new trend in street food in the future, steering away from the food truck craze to the tiny plastic seats craze.
Of course, this is not to downplay the restaurants we’ve been hitting up. In Hoi An for example, we checked out Morning Glory, a restaurant that was recommended to us not once, but 3 separate times before we even arrived at our hotel. It is one of a handful of restaurants by the same owner in the city, and just walking by the open kitchen, you can see and smell why her businesses do so well. Combining her own Vietnamese heritage with western skills the menus contain something for everyone.
Below are some shots of the delicious food and drinks we can’t seem to stop consuming.
The best part? We’re not headed home just yet! I can’t wait to see what else someone puts in front of me. 🙂