Fashion designer Hà Truong who usually sticks to a palette of black and white, well mostly black, has decided to have a play with colour.
And when Hà does colour, she really does colour. Her 2014 summer collection features bold shades of neon and bold patterns alongside the usual black and white structured cuts with a twist and detail that Hà has made her name with.
& Of Other Things spent an afternoon with Hà at her store and workroom on Xuân Diệu to get an exclusive peek of her latest designs and chat about how they come to be.
&: There is an usual array of colour in this collection, why is that?
Hà Truong: I love colour, but it is not for me. Except for male designers, most of the time I see someone and I know exactly what they would design. If you look at a female [designer], she designs exactly what she likes to look like and wear. And she wears her design so it reflects her personality. So me, I wear a lot of black and white. Or really strong colours. You know I go extreme. I’m a little bit of an extreme person. I think so, I’m either very this or very that.
&: So you are pushing yourself to design stuff you would not wear yourself?
Hà Truong: Yeah, I went out my comfort zone. Something I always try and do. This means I do have a lot of pieces in my collection that I only do for the fashion [world]. They really like it, it’s perfect for a photo shoot, it’s perfect for the catwalk and the colour is so strong, so new and so daring so I do it. Because I have a lot of customers who dare to wear something different I do this for customers to try and give them that. A lot of people don’t mind wearing strong colours and Vietnamese people love colour. So I’m like why not?
Because you always try to stay safe, but I think sometimes you need to push out of your comfort zone.
&: How would you describe your latest creations?
Hà Truong: Loose. Very loose. This year will be very easy going, a lot of oversize, volume contrasted with fitted. Mostly in silk and cotton. And a lot of Japanese inspiration. The kimono look, I always have that in my collection. I really am fascinated by Japanese culture and I like the deconstruction of that and using elements of it. And the art of origami.
&: What is special about your 2014 Summer collection?
Hà Truong: I put a lot of detail, of technique, handmade work into each piece so as to make it more interesting. Because I feel that I should be really coming back to my identity of doing clothes which are very designed but based on traditional techniques. My style is very modern, but in a way I want to stay close to where I come from. I started with embroidery. I created my own fabric by working with the material itself, for example this one:
This one is amazing, because normally you buy clothes and you buy accessories to put on the clothes to decorate them. But for me that is not deep enough; just buying something and then adding things. Me, I like the fabric do it by itself, with its own texture to create the shape, the detail, and the pattern.
&: Where do you work best?
Hà Truong: At home. I work a lot at home. When I design I need to not have anyone looking over my shoulder. I really need to be alone. I am quite serious when I work. Very serious and very concentrated. I love to do things alone. Because nobody interferes with what you do, what you think, your decisions are made by yourself. And that makes me happy, because this is not by someone else and I don’t copy from anyone. It is really what I created.
I do work with my pattern cutter and we change small details on the design but most of the time it’s me. Then I delegate. Because I don’t sew, I know how to, but I don’t. It’s a lot about time and being patient. If I do the pattern then I cannot do the rest. After the design process it is team work.
&: What are your favourite aspects of designing?
Hà Truong: I like twisting, mixing up different influences in unexpected ways. For example this fabric is really flashy and European.
A fabric you would never expect to be made into a Chinese collar. But I twist fabric and style.
It is a new look and new concept and perception of things that fascinates me. This is the idea and then if you have a concept behind something, that makes you an artist.
And it makes me happy as the reaction is great. Designing, for me, is about making something beautiful and giving other people pleasure. When people see your vision, they get it and treasure it. There is joy in creating on your own and then you showcase your work, yourself, to others and they give you good feedback, they like what you do.
&: What is your favourite fabric?
Hà Truong: Chiffon. The most difficult thing. Because it is transparent. It is so thin and I like to cover myself up but you can still see everything. I think it is very personal. It’s transparent, but not transparent.