Mention to anybody who has visited Vietnam that you are going to Hoi An and the first thing and the first thing they will tell you about is getting clothes made. Notorious for it’s impressive number of tailors (I don’t think I have been down a single road without at least one yet), Hoi An definitely lives up to its reputation.
Having been pre-warned about the amazingness of the tailors by friends and family alike, I came prepared. Last Boxing Day I bought one of those multi-way, backless dresses in this gorgeous Navy blue hue that I absolutely love. This dress comes in so many colours and I had been looking at them for a while before I finally made the decision to buy one. Even on sale it was over $100. When I asked my sister if she wanted anything made, it didn’t take her long to let me know that she wanted one of those dresses recreated in black. So of course, I embraced the opportunity and got that and two others in emerald green and a gorgeous floral pattern made.
Finding the right fabric felt like finding the right man. Overwhelming, a little frustrating and requiring a lot of patience and persistence. Although so many of them looked good at a distance, up close the majority were just not quite right. However, with enough patience, persistence and good sense, in amongst it all if you looked hard enough, you would find that one that would look good, make you feel good, be practical and last the distance.
Our tailor, Lee, who owns Trung Duc Couture, was another recommendation of my uncle’s. He has known her so long now, that she is kind of like family. And she certainly lived up the expression that family look after family.
With 5 women all getting measured up for our items of clothes by 4 Vietnamese women (one of whom was 8 months pregnant) and rummaging through the incredible choice of fabrics, it was like Chinese New Years, minus the dragons, drums and food (although we made up for the latter soon thereafter).
Having never had this opportunity before, I probably didn’t have as much made as I could have, choosing to dip my toe in the water rather than jump right in. Mind you, three dresses, one top and having a dress I already owned taken in was a fairly good effort. Both my mum, her best friend and my aunty’s best friend had one of my dresses that I bought before I came replicated, as well as many, many other items, and my fabulous aunt also expanded her fabulous wardrobe with a couple of pieces.
After the tailor, we all headed straight to the jewellery maker. My uncle’s wife has gone there for years to have all her jewellery made. She probably has the most amazing collection of jewellery I have ever seen, and an eye for high quality designers. For my 21st, they even had a Georg Jenson piece replicated for me.
I bought mum a pair of Pandora hook earnings for Mother’s Day this year, which were probably the best present I have ever given her. I am not sure I have seen her change earrings since. However, since then, Pandora have discontinued the line. I was so excited that she took the opportunity to have some charms made, and even more excited that she found a necklace for herself that she loved.
Unfortunately, my sister was unable to come to Vietnam due to the school term starting (she just had to slum it on a school trip in New Zealand over the holidays… helicopter rides over glaciers, zip lining, skiing… poor thing). But as a birthday present, and to make up for not being here, she created what can only now be described as my Aunt’s jewellery fund. I honest could not even begin to describe the pieces that she is getting made… so there will be photos to come. As it happens, generosity runs in the family, with my aunt also buying me a divine long silver necklace and mum a leather and pearl necklace.
All this excitement and it wasn’t even lunch. Good thing we spent the afternoon getting massages and pedicures. I almost had you worried we were exerting ourselves too much.
Although the original plan was to get everything made at the beginning of the trip so that all of the things we are getting were finished and fitted early, something gives me the feeling that this won’t be all there is.
Tomorrow we will go back to everyone to get fitted and to see the final results.
I can hardly wait.