Is fashion an art or a business? Are the aspirations of the artist different to those of the designer? In her renowned book, ‘Seeing Through Clothes’, literature expert Anne Hollander states that: “Dress is a form of visual art, a creation of images with the visible self as its medium”. Why might the idea of fashion as art be particularly important for Vietnamese designers and for the articulation of Vietnamese identity on the runway and in daily life?
Professor Ann Marie Leshkowich (anthropologist) and Professor Martina Thucnhi Nguyen (historian) in conversation with Dolla S. Merrillees (curator) will consider these questions through case studies of well known Vietnamese designers, past and present; and in the context of the scale and rise in popularity of fashion exhibition in galleries and museums in recent years.
This discussion will explore how aesthetic and market considerations inform ideas of innovation and heritage; concepts of the designer as both artist and gatekeeper of cultural and gender identities; including the complexity of an ‘essential’ or an ‘original’ artistic vision within Vietnamese design.
*Image: The stage of Vietnam International Fashion Week 2020. Image resource: gioitreviet.vn