How important is art to your identity? And what draws you to certain art pieces more than others?
The world’s best art causes us to pause and reflect, at times eliciting as many positive reactions as negative ones, but by their very nature they all carry in common some aspects representative of our intrinsic identity as human beings. While the artwork at Hôtel Des Arts Saigon varies broadly in scope and character, there is a distinctive emphasis on commemorating and celebrating the tremendous strength, character, and beauty of femininity.
The art aesthetic at Hôtel Des Arts Saigon combines the classical charm of “Indochine Française” with a sense of timeless chic, introducing elements of a bygone era to the present day for guests with modern needs. The emphasis on femininity comes from an admiration of the powerful women whose strength, style, and determination came to define the roaring twenties in London, and whose brave struggle in Indochine Saigon paved the way for future generations to not only accept women as equals, but to celebrate and cherish femininity.
The Iconic Flappers of the Roaring 20s
During World War I, women in pre-20s London began breaking out of confined domestic roles to take on vital work in factories, giving them an income and a greater measure of independence. Women over thirty years old were given the right to vote in 1918, and over the next decade women were emboldened to express themselves more fully and authentically—short hair styles became fashionable, skirts and dresses became shorter as well, and generally women felt more free to speak their minds, to drink, smoke, and drive motorcars.
The iconic “flappers”, as they were known, were polarizing and controversial at the time. While women felt more freedom, power, and strength to be their authentic selves and celebrate their femininity, some saw their behaviour as reckless and inappropriate. Now, they are remembered as brave pioneers, and their legacy is celebrated and remembered through the art and aesthetic at Hôtel Des Arts Saigon.
Women Warriors Lifting Up a Nation
On the other side of the globe, while the French Indochine regime was in full swing, women in Vietnam—empowered through education and motivated by national pride—began to seek skilled work and new means of self-expression that had previously been considered taboo or outright forbidden. For the first time in Vietnam’s history, textbooks, magazines, and newspapers were published by and for women.
Though many obstacles remained in the path to equality, the women of this era laid the foundations for future generations to overcome the restrictions and expectations of women’s roles in society, to be bold and expressive, and to embrace the strength and beauty of their femininity. Through political upheaval, war, and the development of a modern national identity, Vietnamese women have stood proudly at the center of it all, supporting their families, running businesses, innovating, and for those who choose motherhood, raising a nation of confident young women (and men!) who will shape the nation’s future for years to come.
Celebrating Femininity at Hôtel Des Arts Saigon
From the “flappers” of the West, to the pre-revolutionary women’s advocates in the East, a strong woman in all societies has profoundly influenced the course of history, and their impact is no less indelible in the arts. At Hôtel Des Arts Saigon, all paintings have a consistent theme that depicts female figures and feminine beauty, contributing to the “Inspired By Her” concept, which aims to curate an experience suited specifically to the needs of female travelers.
One such painting is “The Royal Life” by Bui Huu Hung, which depicts the Empress Nam Phuong d’Annam, the first and primary wife of Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam. She is known not only for her passion and dedication to her country and her family, but also for her iconic sense of fashion. She became a figurehead of elegance and grace in the West, as well as charm and sophistication in the East. The spirit of her enigmatic persona lives on in the aesthetic at Hôtel Des Arts Saigon, which blends harmoniously the best of Eastern and Western hospitality.
Even the architecture and furnishings lend themselves to a narrative celebratory of femininity, down to the subtlest details like the rounded corners of windows and the curves of lounge chairs and lamp shades. The unique awning at the main hotel entrance gently slopes down and elegantly outward, reminiscent of a feminine traditional Vietnamese áo dài. And whether by coincidence or fate, the very street upon which the hotel is situated, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, is named after a Vietnamese woman who is widely regarded as a revolutionary hero, revered and celebrated as an early leader advocating for Vietnamese independence.
The Hôtel Des Arts Saigon is a celebration not only of fine hospitality, food, and drink, but of beautiful art and tasteful interiors combining the best elements of East and West. The perseverance, strength, beauty, and courage of women in the 1920s influences the artwork and the aesthetic experience of the entire hotel, giving it a distinctive and unique flair among hotels in Saigon, well-suited to delight the senses of guests of any gender.