SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies

The Tailor

The Tailor image
Director: Trần Bửu Lộc, Nguyễn Lê Phương Khanh

Date: 25 May 2019Time: 3:30 PM

Finishes: 25 May 2019Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Film Screening





Time Description
4.00 pm Panel talk
4.15 pm Film screening of The Tailor


Nhu Y is a young, talented and arrogant fashionista who lives in the 1960s in Saigon’s most famous Vietnamese traditional ao dai couture house. However, she doesn’t want to follow her mother’s footstep, thinking ao dai is too outdated and uncool, instead wanting to expand Thanh Nu House into Western couture. 

Out of her own insolence, a miracle happens: an ao dai transports her to 2017 to witness her own self, who is now a 64 years old woman about to lose her own house due to debts. Seeing her own self so undesirable and has destroyed everything her mom was proud of, and unable to find her way back to 1960s, Nhu Y is widely mad. Her adopted sister, the one she despises, is now the head of a big ao dai house and carries her mom’s ao dai craft recipe, while her own self learns nothing and has nothing. She realizes this is an exile punishment for her attitude.

Stuck in 2017, Nhu Y has to take the initiative of saving the house by working as a maid in the Western couture house of Helen, thinking it’s the best to leverage her expertise in Western couture. Getting through all challenges, she soon rises up and proves her worth to Helen to gain access to the fashion industry in an attempt to resurrect Thanh Nu House. But arrogance and contempt for ao dai soon takes a toll on her. Feeling threatened by Nhu Y, Helen manipulates the “Legendary Celebrity” to order Nhu Y an ao dai. Nhu Y, facing her worst fear, has to find ways to overcome the final challenge in her quest to resurrect her favorite fashion brand. She reconciles with her own self, rediscovers the love for ao dai, and designs a whole ao dai collection based on her personal journey.

In the end, Nhu Y is able to rebuild Thanh Nu House in the ao dai tradition, fixed her attitude and learn to embrace her root, which is the long-standing tradition of ao dai, and her own self. Only then she is able to travel back to 1969. She embraces her mom and starts things new.

The Tailor
(2017, Vietnam)
Director: Trần Bửu Lộc, Nguyễn Lê Phương Khanh
Run time: 100 minutes
Genre: Family
Subtitles in English

Organiser: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, London Committee in collaboration with the SOAS Centre of South East Asian Studies

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