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Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia$
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S. Heijin Lee, Christina H. Moon, and Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479892150

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479892150.001.0001

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Fashioning the Field in Vietnam

Fashioning the Field in Vietnam

An Intersectional Tale of Clothing, Femininities, and the Pedagogy of Appropriateness

(p.127) 5 Fashioning the Field in Vietnam
Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia

Ann Marie Leshkowich

NYU Press

This chapter explores how a state-sponsored fashion show for women in their 40s depicted an appropriate midlife femininity as mature, attractive, self-confident, and mindful of both Vietnam’s revolutionary socialist past and future market prosperity. The event spoke back to global fashion hierarchies by highlighting Vietnam as a source of style, rather than simply a site for manufacturing others’ designs. It also suggested that Vietnamese fashion was on the cusp of receiving international attention—a metaphor for Vietnam’s development more broadly—and that what women wore and how they behaved were central to the attainment of this recognition. These claims were bolstered when, in an unexpected turn of events, the author’s presence at the fashion show generated national press coverage. Examining the “field” of Ho Chi Minh City in the 1990s as a site of ethnographic research encounters, this chapter explores the dialogic and embodied politics of knowledge production that characterize research on fashion in globalizing contexts.

Keywords:   fashion, fashion show, femininity, development, ethnography, social capital, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, research encounters

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