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Sparkling ‘wedding-dress street’ in HCM City loses glitter amid pandemic

Couples have had to delay their weddings because of social distancing, and contracts signed with photography studios have been canceled, leaving wedding shops with slow sales.

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The well-known wedding dress street of Ho Van Hue in Phu Nhuan district in HCM City reopened in early October after a long closure because of Covid-19. However, the once crowded street is now deserted and quiet.

Huyen Trang in District 5 still remembers the images of many bridal gowns hanging behind the windows of wedding-dress shops located along the sides of the street. Couples came there to choose wedding costumes as well as passerby to admire the beautiful gowns there.

But things have changed. The mannequins are still wearing glittering wedding dresses. However, passersby seem not to notice their existence.

Many wedding dress shops have shut down and the retail premises have been given back to landlords who are now seeking new tenants.

The retail premise at No 72 Ho Van Hue Street has become a place for fruit, shrimp and fish sale, while No 73 has been upgraded into an office building for lease, and at No 166, fish, cattle-fish, pomelo and face masks are displayed.

Ly Ly, the manager of Ktio Studio, recalled the first day she returned to work after four months of lockdown.

“Only three or four studios were open. The street was quiet,” she said.

Business has improved in recent days and wedding dress shops and photography studios have become busier, but the capacity is just 30-40 percent of that in pre-lockdown days. The wedding season, which lasts from September to December, is the busiest time for the shops. However, very few couples have come to ask about services since the reopening.

“We were always very busy at this time in previous years. We had to work from early morning till midnight. But now we receive only two or three groups of visitors each day,” she said.

“And most couples just want to take wedding photos at the studio instead of going out, because they avoid crowded places and restrict contacts,” she said.

Some clients of the studio have delayed the photography schedules three or four times.

“Some couples have already had babies, and the wedding photography contracts have not yet been implemented,” she said.

Tran Ngoc Tu, the owner of Ahihi Studio, said that full reopening has not been accepted and the number of people allowed to participate in wedding parties is limited. Most clients just order small photography packages at home. They will return for contracts to take pictures at wedding parties later. 

Tran Chung

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