Viet Nam News
Vietnamese designer Võ Việt Chung recently received two awards, Designer of the Year and Best International Designer, from the Fashion Forward programme in the US for his contribution to world fashion. He speaks with Võ Lệ Hồng after returning from New York.
Võ Việt Chung studied in Australia, Italy and Denmark. Since 1997, he has received numerous awards, such as outstanding stylist in Japan; UNESCO award for the restoration and development of the US consulate and preservation of Vietnamese cultural traditions; Entrepreneur Award from the development community; Top 100 business style; and five-time winner of the Golden Apricot award. Every year, Chung attends New York Fashion Week as well as other fashion events around the world.
Inner Sanctum: How do you feel about your success?
I didn’t think it was a contest. So, I was very surprised when I received the awards! I thought I was lucky. But I deserve encouragement for my 20 years in fashion. In the international arena, I am not only representing myself but also my country. I feel honoured to have fulfilled my mission. Through the collections, especially the Dynasty collection, everyone can see that Việt Nam still faces economic difficulties, but the country has had a fashion background marked by a tradition of more than 4,000 years but now with a modern touch.
Inner Sanctum: Can you talk about the awards ceremony?
The event took place on August 13 this year at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, with the top five designers of the participating countries. I was one of them. The event attracted 1,000 guests, including VIPs, supermodels, top models, designers and film stars. The event will air on major TV channels such as Fashion TV and CNN, and be seen in the world’s top fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle.
It is the programme’s 50th anniversary at St Madeleine Sophie’s Center. The 39th show of the event was titled Haute with Heart Fashion Show. It was intended to contribute to children with disabilities, as well as those with Down syndrome and autism.
I have participated in many international fashion events. In each event, I have brought new colours. The Haute with Heart Fashion Show is a professional programme honouring those who have influence in fashion. Each person can make a contribution to charity for children.
Inner Sanctum: Could you describe the Dynasty collection?
Joining the fashion show were 25 supermodels and international models. Before the show, we had a working session to help the models capture the designer’s ideas communicated through costumes.
A 3D design was used for lotus and chrysanthemum motifs and for motifs representing royal architecture.
"Royal" refers to elegance and something regal, but also dreams of a royal garden. The mysterious and beautiful garden appears with white flowers on the path. The garden is not imposing but is very peaceful.
The collection consists of 20 designs with red, yellow and metallic black as the main colours. The colours reflect the characteristic nuances of the royal style, while the materials of silk, brocade, velvet and lace clearly express the spirit of the collection, the "Royal" haute couture line of fashion. The motifs on the clothes are shaped like Italian baroque motifs with stones, metals and pearls. The accompanying accessories such as jewelry, shoes, hats and scarves are handmade.
This is the first time I have combined hair, dresses and flowers to tell a poetic royal story. All form a path throughout Asia’s dynasties.
Inner Sanctum: How do you feel about the award?
The value is not much in terms of money, but it has given me better conditions for my business. Some companies have asked me to set up a joint venture with them, even in New York. I can’t tell much about the future, but I just quietly work, and what will be will be. Of course, I have to prepare a lot to develop an international market for my work.
Inner Sanctum: Are you the designer of the áo dài for Vietnam National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân ?
Well, I have designed the áo dài for Madame Ngân for many years. I’m touched when I see works designed by myself, presented by a beautiful and dynamic woman during important events, like her inauguration ceremony as Chairwoman of the National Assembly and the reception for US President Barack Obama.
Honouring beauty while trying to cover flaws is the function of a designer. So, I always try to picture the character of this southern Vietnamese woman: simple but beautiful, energetic but solemn. VNS