THUỶ NGUYỄN: AN EVERYDAY DREAM
a solo exhibition by Thủy Nguyễn
Curated by Dolla S. Merrillees
Opening date: November, 2020
Location: The Factory of Contemporary Arts Centre
15 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien ward, district 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
“Initially, it was just a hobby that I liked to do on the side, but with every new skill that I acquired, the realisation came that I was coming to love my little pastime.” Thuy Nguyen, 2018
“The uniqueness of fashion by Thuy Nguyen is her ambition to revivify the tradition through the contemporary fashion language.” Wechoice Awards, 2017
Known and recognised for her multidisciplinary creative practice, entrepreneurship and distinct aesthetic, Thuy Nguyen is one of Vietnam’s most celebrated designers and a leader in Vietnam’s emerging and rapidly growing fashion industry. This exhibition, curated by Dolla S. Merrillees, is the first to explore her career and practice of more than a decade, revealing the background, creative processes, cultural influences and inspiration that have contributed to the making of a successful and acclaimed fashion design house.
Born and raised in Hanoi, Thuy Nguyen graduated from Vietnam University of Fine Arts and completed her post-graduate studies at the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture, Kiev. Despite little in the way of formal training in fashion design, Nguyen launched herself into the world of fashion, opening her flagship store, Thuy Design House on Saigon’s Dong Khoi Street in 2011 that has subsequently expanded to include five stores across Vietnam. Featuring regularly in Vietnam International Fashion Week, Thuy Design House also presents its collections internationally and in 2015 was invited to participate in a showcase of contemporary fashion as part of Vietnam Culture Day in Rome.
With a creative practice spanning diverse disciplines including painting, art installations and design, Nguyen has been a consistent champion of traditional Vietnamese culture and her collections have drawn inspiration from vintage textiles, decorative arts, mid-century ceramics, 20th century paintings by artists such as Mai Trung Thứ (1906-1980), Lê Phổ (1907-2001) and Trần Văn Cẩn (1910-1994), students of the École Supérieure des Beaux Arts de l’Indochine, polaroid photographs from the 1960s and 70s as well as the áo dài, Vietnam’s iconic national dress and other traditional accessories.
Her multi-disciplinary career has seen her produce an award-winning film, Cô Ba Sài Gòn (The Tailor), a romantic comedy featuring the culture and lifestyle of Saigonese and the history of áo dài, as well as establish The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Vietnam’s first purpose-built independent space for contemporary art in Saigon. In 2019, Nguyen’s design and business acumen saw her being listed by Forbes Vietnam as one of the top fifty most influential women in the country.
Central to her success is her delicate, feminine and romantic designs, her imaginative use of colour and fabric, and her blending of old and new to embody the strength and character of the contemporary Vietnamese woman. This exhibition will bring into focus her unique creative perspective featuring garments, accessories, ensembles and archival material from her own personal collection presented in a series of strikingly designed mise en scène.
This exhibition is organized by The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, in partnership with Thuy Design House, curated by Dolla S. Merrillees
More on Dolla S. Merrillees
Dolla Merrillees is a curator, cultural producer, consultant and author of The Woodcutter’s Wife: A Stepmother’s Tale (2007). Merrillees is an accomplished public speaker and writer and has contributed to numerous online and print publications. Merrillees was the former Director of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) as well as having been Director of Curatorial, Collections and Exhibitions at MAAS since the beginning of 2014. Merrillees was responsible for the establishment of the MAAS Centre for Fashion, the first such centre of excellence in an Australian cultural institution, as well as developing strategic partnerships with the Australian Fashion Chamber and the fashion industry. Fashion and design exhibitions developed and realised under her Directorship included amongst others Love Is: Australian wedding fashion; Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced; Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital; and A Fine Possession: jewellery and identity.
Merrillees is currently undertaking a Master of Philosophy at the University of Sydney and most recently was working as Project Leader at Western Sydney University developing their arts and culture decadal strategy, as well as consulting for the University of Tasmania and the City of Launceston. Merrillees was previously Associate Director, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) where she managed over 16 projects and oversaw the production and design of 17 publications. Merrillees sat on the Curatorial Advisory Committee, City of Sydney, the Advisory Board, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University and is a member of Chief Executive Women. Merrillees also sits on the SCCI (Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas) Fashion Hub Advisory Committee and is one of three SCCI Global Emissaries. Merrillees is represented by Silverfox Management Group, Sydney and Grey Models, London.