A book tracking the costumes worn by Vietnamese people from all levels of society throughout the last 1,000 years has been launched in Hanoi recently.

Many experts have been quick to describe the book as the most comprehensive research ever undertaken on the subject.

Through texts and images, the book titled Ngan Nam Ao Mu (A Study of Costumes in 1,000 Years) provides a very detailed description of how Vietnamese people from the Ly dynasty, Nguyen dynasty and beyond dressed.

Its author, Tran Quang Duc, a 28-year-old researcher from the Vietnam Institute of Literature, has spent many years searching the country and abroad for historical evidence of the costumes, which have been worn by people from different regions, social backgrounds and historical periods.

Over the past, experts have criticised Vietnamese historical films for featuring incongruous costumes either from a different time period or overly influenced by the costume designs of Chinese films.

It was this contention made Duc realise the lack of knowledge about Vietnamese dress and the fashion styles of the ancestors.

“I really felt that there was a place for some meticulous research on the subject, Duc said. “I noticed that people don't just argue about what people wore, but also about the extent of the influence. I wanted to find some definitive answers.”

Duc also said he is happy to find through his research that despite the influence of Chinese attire as a standard to follow, Vietnamese clothes and hair styles had their own strong identity.-VNA