Nga Cocoon draws on Vietnamese culture and a personal connection with customers for one-of-a-kind fashion and interior design creations.
After nearly 20 years of honing her craft, designer Dinh Hong Nga and her brand Cocoon have become well-known to the public through stunning áo dài collections spun from exquisite silk such as “Hac Vu,” “The Hanoian” and “Giac mo hoa” (“Flowery Dream”). However, those who have followed the designer – also known as Nga Cocoon — since her early days know that she rarely organizes fashion shows for her collections. Instead, she can be found at events around the globe, from the Cannes Film Festival to Vietnam Film Week to a variety of cultural and trade exchanges between Vietnam and the U.S.
In Nga Cocoon’s view, áo dài designs aren’t merely fashion trends but express the essence of Vietnam’s time-honored cultural values. Rather than following the yearly fashion calendar, she has chosen to bring her creations closer to people all over the globe, showing off Vietnam to all corners of the world.
“EACH CUSTOMER IS A SOULMATE”
What also sets Nga Cocoon apart is how she interacts with her customers. For the last five years, instead of operating a boutique, she has turned her own home into a showroom and only meets customers by appointment. Nga calls clients her “soulmates” and designs áo dài based on conversations and personal feedback. Nga Cocoon remains famous for her hand-drawn details, color palettes and unique design style. Customers may see her spontaneously sketch ideas on a fabric base as they speak. The designer says client meetings are not only about choosing fabrics and outfits but are meaningful and enjoyable experiences on their own.
“A customer of mine is an extremely busy doctor, yet she likes visiting my showroom to have a cup of tea, chat about life, look at fabrics, and come up with ideas for her outfits as a way to unwind and relax after stressful hours of working,” Nga said.
FASHION MEETS INTERIOR DESIGN
Receiving customers at her own home has brought Nga numerous creative chances to beautify life in fields other than fashion. Received in a traditional Vietnamese house, many customers have fallen in love with her living space and seek her advice on the design of their own homes. With an inherent love for furniture, Nga decided to join her best friend, an architect, on a new path as a concept creator for living spaces under the Abrick Cocoon brand. In addition to furniture and decoration, Nga also advises her customers on how to apply feng shui principles to their interior layout and how to make their homes comfortable, from picking fragrances for rooms to the arrangement of plants.
Nga Cocoon has found success introducing her hand-drawn Vietnamese patterns and details to wooden items such as doors, wardrobes and beds as well as embroidered products such as blankets, pillows and curtains. Her love for rustic materials and handcrafted “made in Vietnam” pieces of art breathe life into a home, creating a relaxing and poetic lifestyle that resonates with Vietnamese culture. Whether it’s fashion or interior design, Cocoon’s one-of-a-kind, high-quality creations stem unmistakably from Vietnamese roots.
Although she has chosen a career path different from other fashion designers, Nga Cocoon has found satisfaction in what she has achieved: creativity, freedom and the never-ending quest to beautify life.