fashion • 29 Aug, 2017
Backstage At Vo Cong Khanh’s ‘Cocoon’
We Went Backstage And Front To Find Out Why Vo Cong Khanh’s The Freshest Designer After 15 Years
Vietnamese fashion designer Vo Cong Khanh is renowned for ripping up the fashion rule book. Last year he launched a line of bomber jackets, each one uniquely customized. “[The bomber jacket] represents a cohesion of cultural details, childhood memories and things most loved by its new owner,” he told us back in September.
Despite his designs being worn by everyone from Alicia Keys to Ha Tran, and Elle’s Dzung Yoko (who wore his own bespoke bomber to the show), ‘Cocoon’ was Vo Cong Khanh’s first solo event. And it marked 15 years in fashion for the designer — real longevity in an ever-changing industry.
So we fluttered around backstage at the butterfly-themed show that featured Thanh Thanh La as a dragonfly and Lan Khue as the resplendent star, and spoke to models, supporters and then attendees on the red carpet about what they expected to find inside the ‘Cocoon’ spun by Vietnam’s coolest designer.
Dzung Yoko (Creative Director at Elle)
I think Vo Cong Khanh is doing things really differently. There’s a theatricality to his shows, and the designs are obviously very cool but wearable. I’m here tonight to help him because I really believe in his work. For ‘Cocoon’, he created around 100 looks in just one month, which is incredible. The butterfly concept is a fascinating one to explore too because physically they are so colourful and it’s interesting the way they expand and contract their wings, and so I worked with that in the designs of the invitations and in the event poster.
Cha Mi (Model and Vietnam’s Next Top Model Contestant)
I can’t tell you what’s happening in Vietnam’s Next Top Model! But I can talk about the show tonight, and the designer’s work. I really see Vo Cong Khanh’s designs as high fashion. They’re really different to the work of other designers, not just in the materials he uses but in the concepts he creates around the clothes, and the designs he produces — the cut and the colours are both distinctly his own. And me? I haven’t come out of my cocoon yet! But I’ll let you know when I do.
Kaylee Hwang (Fashionista, VJ for MTV Vietnam)
My style is colourful and eclectic — I like to mix things up. I was into fashion since I was really young. I remember being something like six years old when I discovered MTV and the style of artists like Madonna and Prince. The first time I wore Khanh’s clothes was at Vietnam Fashion Week last year, and I thought that’s cool, that’s for me. But the last time I met him he said his new upcoming collection is more girly, and it’s maybe not for me anymore. But let’s see, ‘girly’ in Vo Cong Khanh’s style could still be really interesting. I’m also intrigued to see how he incorporates the concept of butterflies and the cocoon…
Tung Chau (Chief Make Up Artist)
I really love to work with Vo Cong Khanh because he’s crazier with his concepts. Other shows, with different designers, we will take a more standard approach to make up. Usually, I will come up with the concept, or I develop it collaboratively with the designer, but this time Khanh wanted it to be entirely his idea. It’s more abstract, and we’re not going for the usual ‘pretty’ faces. I think the idea reflects the details in the clothing, the colours, and the concept of becoming a butterfly after emerging from a cocoon.
Leigh Anderson (Model)
They told me that I’ll be opening the show and I will return at the end, but that’s all I know. Vo Cong Khanh’s work is so cool and interesting so it’s an honour to be here supporting him. I’d never modelled before but I bumped into Dzung Yoko in a cafe about three years ago, and he said he wanted me to model for him. We exchanged numbers and he called. My first catwalk show was at Vietnam Fashion Week last year for the Australian designer Betty Tran. As I’m Australian it was great to support her too.
Hoang Oanh (MC and Miss Vietnam Contestant)
I’m wearing one of Vo Cong Khanh’s designs tonight. I really love the materials, the way that it is layered, and the writing he adds. If I have a special event or a date with friends, I would definitely wear his clothes. Tonight, looking at the posters, I think the theme will be romance, but with some rebelliousness. I’m expecting lots of surprises. I’m interested in the concept as butterflies come from caterpillars, and that maturing process is wonderful — to suddenly become more beautiful and more colourful. I think we’ve all been through significant life changes — I certainly have. Two major changes stand out for me, when I was 20 and 26. Those stories are too long to get into right now! But I definitely reinvented myself, I became more risky...
Thanh Dao (Advertising Producer)
Thanh Dao (left) with Chi Nguyen, Dino Vu and Kaylee Hwang
I think it’s going to be interesting. Khanh is a very unique designer and he’s got his own style. He’s very creative. There’s usually so many gowns and more grander things at shows like this, but with Khanh there’s no fixed form and it’s usually much more deconstructed. I don’t really wear his things — besides the bomber jackets I think they’re usually more female oriented. And the jackets are great but they’re too hot to wear here. But we do often use his designs in our advertising shoots. I’m curious about the staging and the performance aspect tonight as Khanh’s shows are always theatrical.
Check out what else was happening at ‘Cocoon’ below.
Lan Khue and Vo Cong Khanh
Designer Vo Cong Khanh
Don't forget to check out our photo galleries of all the pics from the 'Cocoon' show below.
'COCOON' BY VO CONG KHANH - BACKSTAGE
'COCOON' BY VO CONG KHANH - RED CARPET
'COCOON' BY VO CONG KHANH - RUNWAY
Words by David Kaye
Photo: Tuan Tran