This little dress with flowers designs is a souvenir of the time when I was 16.

I was brought up in a Catholic school in Vietnam and wearing a uniform was compulsory. This Ao Dàin the traditional tunic of city girls, was my Sunday dress.

When I had to leave Vietnam in 1974, this dress was all I took with me, the only piece of clothing I still have from a country where I’ll never return.

As a child and in my early teens I used to visit my parents who lived in France at the time. I did not enjoy it because the weather was cold and I had to spend hours travelling on the RER to reach my parents’ restaurant.

Later in Vietnam I worked as a translator with my uncle for French and American customers. When I left Vietnam I could have chosen to go to France or the US. The hazards of journeying took me to France then to Teheran where I saw Khomeini take power, which drove me to return to France for the second and last time.


 – Madame K.

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