The Ao Dai was born as the costume required to be worn by the southern courtiers under the reign of the southern lord Nguyen Phuc Khoat. Based on style of clothing worn by the Cham people and long dress of Shanghai women at this time, he created a new version called Vietnamese Ao dai In 1930 when a group of French- trained artists, beginning with the Hanoian Cat Tuong (also known as Le Mur) combined the design of the Ao Ngu Than (five-panel gown), a variation of the Ao Dai with features borrowed from the Ao Tu Than, and French fashion dresses, that the Ao Dai morphed from plainness to beauty and sensuality. In the 1960s, craftsmen named Tran Kim and Sy Hoang designed address with raglan sleeves and a diagonal seam that runs from the collar to the underarm, which help the wearer an appearance of modesty combined with self-confidence. Henceforth, this pattern continuing in modern Ao Dai nowadays.
Today, the Ao Dai is a symbol of grace, culture, and beauty. In Vietnam as well as among the Vietnamese emigrant communities around the globe, the Ao Dai Beauty Pageant has become a staple in the Vietnamese entertainment industry. Many well-known Vietnamese fashion designers devote their entire careers to develop new looks for the Ao Dai.