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Tia-Thuy Nguyen’s story of transformation: How Lady Dior becomes Lady Cloud

Tia-Thuy Nguyen’s story of transformation: How Lady Dior becomes Lady Cloud

Tuesday, March 19, 2024, 12:44 GMT+7
Tia-Thuy Nguyen’s story of transformation: How Lady Dior becomes Lady Cloud
Tia-Thuy Nguyen and the process of creating the Lady Cloud bag. Photo: Supplied

Tia-Thuy Nguyen and the famous French fashion brand, The House of Dior, have just introduced to the public the artwork Lady Cloud. This is an ‘adaptation’ of the legendary Lady Dior bag, inspired by the purity and comprehensiveness of clouds.

Lady Cloud makes a strong impression of being crafted from quartz, sparkling and durable. 

In January 2024, The House of Dior reached out to Tia-Thuy Nguyen to collaborate on transforming the iconic Lady Dior bag into a work of art.

This is a project of Dior in collaboration with talented artists in many countries called ‘Lady Dior As Seen By.’

It involves a traveling exhibition that moves through different cities, showcasing artworks created through collaborations between Dior and artists to capture a creative narrative that transcends geographical boundaries and cultural principles, reflecting an international creative context.

This special collaboration is also initiated to honor founder Christian Dior's passion for art.

Dior suggested a two-month timeline to complete the work. Despite being occupied with several major art projects, Tia-Thuy Nguyen, an artist who lives by the motto ‘always work hard with every opportunity,’ readily agreed without hesitation.

Lady Dior As Seen By is a project designed to pay tribute to the signature Lady Dior bag.

The name Lady Dior holds its own significance, and now, with the artistic touch and boundless creativity of the world's top contemporary artists, it will acquire an additional allure.

Dior describes the project as an enthralling modern adventure fueled by creative passion.

Contemporary artists who have collaborated on this project include Mircea Cantor, Jeffrey Gibson, Gilbert & George, Ha Chong-Hyun, Lee Kun-Yong, Mariko Mori, Ludovic Nkoth, Hilary Pecis, Mickalene Thomas, Zadie Xa, Michaela Yearwood-Dan, and Xu Zhen.

Sketches of the Lady Cloud bag. Photo: Supplied

Sketches of the Lady Cloud bag. Photo: Supplied

Dior will bring those works of art to many countries so that art and fashion enthusiasts can have the opportunity to admire them over the years.

Upon seeing the completed artwork Lady Cloud by Tia-Thuy Nguyen, representatives from Dior were pleasantly surprised by the artistry of the piece and the seamless connection between the essence of The House of Dior and the artist's vision.

As time passed and the representatives spent more time with Lady Cloud, Dior, much like the audience, found themselves becoming increasingly contemplative and curious about the potential of blending art and fashion to bring inspiration to life.

As is widely understood, Lady Cloud will be showcased and recognized as one of Dior's exceptional pieces.

It stands as a work of art, distinct from the typical commercial collaborations that result in limited edition products sold in stores.

The making of the Lady Cloud bag. Photo: Supplied

The making of the Lady Cloud bag. Photo: Supplied

Cloud, quartz, hand-applied and Tia-Thuy Nguyen

Upon receiving the invitation, Tia-Thuy Nguyen devoted time to thoroughly researching the Lady Dior bag from a creative standpoint.

The Vietnamese artist began by sketching ideas on paper, ultimately selecting colorful clouds as her creative inspiration and hand-applied techniques as her distinctive touch.

She then crafted a 3D prototype using clay, allowing her to accurately visualize the structure and proportions of the artwork in real space.

She explains that she chose quartz as the primary material for this artwork because of its symbolic significance.

As in feng shui, quartz is a stone that balances qi, helps calm the mind, crystallizes one's thoughts, and eliminates negative emotions.

Tia-Thuy Nguyen and the Lady Cloud bag. Photo: Supplied

Tia-Thuy Nguyen and the Lady Cloud bag. Photo: Supplied

From an esthetic perspective, quartz resembles clouds, allowing light to pass through and bending its direction to reflect its surroundings.

The contrast between the solidity of quartz and the airiness of clouds can challenge the viewer's imagination, leading to open-ended personal contemplation.

Selecting quartz crystals to form a cloud surrounding the bag posed a significant challenge, not only due to the arduous journey of finding the right quartz block but also because of the highly intricate attachment process involved.

To locate the ideal stone block with the desired clarity, hardness, and size, Tia-Thuy Nguyen and her team embarked on a journey to renowned quartz quarries in Yen Bai Province, Da Nang City, Dak Lak Province, Ha Tien City in Vietnam, and even explored options in other countries.

Each location's soil yields quartz rocks with varying colors, levels of smokiness, and irradiance properties.

Tia-Thuy Nguyen poses at the Lady Dior As Seen By exhibition. Photo: Supplied

Tia-Thuy Nguyen poses at the Lady Dior As Seen By exhibition. Photo: Supplied

After extensive searches, she discovered the perfect stone block for creating Lady Cloud – a 103kg crystal tree found in Phan Thiet City, Binh Thuan Province, south-central Vietnam.

Following this, the stone sculptures were crafted, and the sizable stone blocks were meticulously divided into hundreds of thousands of tiny quartz crystals, each with varying angles and colors.

The cutting and polishing processes were entirely manual.

Once sorted, Tia-Thuy Nguyen and the artisans commenced the meticulous task of attaching the stones, forming a soft, adaptable cloud with color transitions ranging from light to dark surrounding Lady Cloud.

When art combines with fashion

Tia-Thuy Nguyen shared that throughout the creative process, there were numerous occasions when her collaborators doubted the feasibility of completing the project within the tight timeframe.

There were also moments of uncertainty when it appeared that all hope was lost, particularly when she struggled to devise a manufacturing plan.

However, by persevering step by step, they managed to navigate from the initial challenges to ultimately achieving their goal of creating the one-of-a-kind Lady Cloud bag sculpture.

Harnessing the power of light to accentuate its beauty and convey a distinct message to each observer, Lady Cloud is adorned with thousands of meticulously arranged quartz crystals, carefully chosen for their color and texture.

When illuminated, it evokes varied emotions in viewers, with the interplay of light and angles creating an ever-changing visual experience.

“Dior has researched and followed my artistic journey and found similarities, now is the right time for both sides to work together,” Tia-Thuy Nguyen said.

“This combination is not only a collaboration to ‘adapt’ a Dior icon but also an intersection between two design thoughts and philosophies.

“I bring my signature esthetic and spontaneous personality, and Dior represents exemplary elegance with its classic bag shape.

“For me, this is my destiny with a timeless symbol.

“I am very happy that we have more opportunities to meet and interact with the diversity of the world.

“Through this exhibition, I hope the audience and my colleagues will see a new possibility and a new way of expression that motivate us to move forward together.

"This project has shown us that Vietnamese artists and art no longer only see the ‘round’ sky anymore.”

Lady Cloud is currently on display for the public to admire at the Lady Dior As Seen By exhibition at An Gallery – Union Square, 159 Dong Khoi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

The exhibition is open until April 14.

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Yen Viet / Tuoi Tre News


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