Vietnam in the eyes of Jean-Jacques Picart


« The beauty of Vietnamese women remains a reference in Asia »

Passionate for anecdotes and stories, one of prestigious figures of the fashion world shared with us his personal description about Vietnam, through impressions of yersterday and today.

Born in Cambodia to a Vietnamese mother and a French father, married to a famous Eurasian journalist, Jean-Jacques Picart is a personality in the world of luxury, who has been known internationally for giving advice to the most prestigious fashion designers (his assistants, Christian Lacroix and Hedi Slimane, owed their reputation to him, among many others). Consultant of Bernard Arnault (chief executive of LVMH group) for more than twenty years, he has greatly contributed to the success of numerous luxury brands – Thierry Mugler, Shiseido, Chloé, Kenzo, Carven, Hermès…

He is one of the persons behind the stage who have built the fashion and for him, Vietnam has been anchored in his memory as an intimate garden.

Then, Jean Jacques Picart talks about Catinat street (and not Dong Khoi)

« First of all, Vietnam is present in my daily life. And I have to tell you that this link has been firstly developped on the dining table. The meal remains the strongest, easiest, most enjoyable way to connect all people in general and the family in particular. At home, we eat 70% of Vietnamese food. One of my favourite dishes is Cha Ca La Vong that I have enjoyed in Paris – at Mai Do restaurant, 23 Montparnasse boulevard, or in Hanoi – at Doan family restaurant on Cha Ca street, with nước mắm cà cuống, a lightly sweet and spicy fish sauce, flavoured with cà cuống essentiel oil, extracted from a kind of insect. A rare recipe which risks to be sunk into oblivion ! A unique and indefinable taste we should discover.

I have recognized an interesting thing that some traditions which were lost over the time have been preserved by people who left their home country since long time. Is it surprising ? This is right for culinary traditions as well as for the language. For example, I find my Vietnamese out of date ; My expressions are lightly arrogant and contemptuous with an imperative tone. I restart learning Vietnamese now to improve my language.

The fashion in Vietnam ?

Fashion seems more and more developing in Vietnam. Instead of fashion, I would like to say few words about Vietnamese women and their powerful beauty. During Chinese invasions, Vietnamese women were considered precious fortunes. Famous examples include Madam Ngo Dinh Nhu (sister in-law of president Ngo Dinh Nhiem) or Nam Phuong (spouse of Bao Dai) who contributed to this international recognition. Madam Nhu was even considered one of the world’s most beautiful women of her time. These women instilled a spirit of elegance into the world by bringing « áo dài » – Vietnamese fashion in the years of 1950 to Paris, with a modern touch on embroidered trousers and tunic and charming boat neck collar.

The beauty of Vietnamese women remains an Asian reference. Today, traditional fashion has been revived but hasn’t achieved international recognition. Definitely, thing can be accelerated. For example, in the years of 1970, Italian people made clothes. They became later dressmakers and brande-names. This case has been reproduced all over the world where the know-how’s culture is well developed. Vietnam will certainly speed on similar steps.

A small revolution to follow…

The foreman of Hanoia

La Table du Chef