The urban ease and European elegance that made Saigon, well, Saigon, is helping shape present-day Ho Chi Minh City. Drawing on the talents of ambitious native and expatriate local designers, the current movement is impacting everything from ceramics to haute couture. At the collective known as · Gaya (39 Thon That Thiep St.; 84-8/914-3768), five up-and-coming designers produce hand-painted lacquerware and stunning stilettos. A handbag's toss from the Hôtel de Ville is · SXS (87 Pasteur St.; 84-8/823-0172), where Sylvie Tran Ha's backless silver gowns and zebra-striped sandals would make Marc Jacobs proud. · THACA (23 Dong Khoi St.; 84-8/ 829-8086 and 106 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia; 84-8/823-4465) caters as much to the pop-influenced tastes of its Japanese clientele as it does to in-the-know Vietnamese with items like Taka Sawamura's signature Bagie Boogie handbag. At · Song (76D Le Thanh Ton St.; 84-8/914-4088) you'll find linen caftans and embroidered silk pillows. Trend-setting department store · Zen Plaza (5456 Nguyen Trai; 84-8/925-0339) has become a training ground for emerging talents; their bias-cut fashions are mounted in museum-like displays. Members of the city's beau monde favor couturier · Minh Khoa (48 Nguyen Hue; 84-8/829-8934), who has made a career out of reimagining iconic garments. Get a custom ao dai from · Sy Hoang (36-38 Ly Tu Trong St.; 84-8/829-9156), a skilled tailor who makes traditional pieces from finely woven silks. —ROB MCKEOWN
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