When one uses the word “whimsical” to describe a garment, an image of draping and Ancient Rome inspired attire may come into your mind. Then if you hear the word “old Hollywood”, you think ball floor-length gowns, fur coats, and diamonds.

Hence why it’s hard for me to describe the breathtaking creations of Cong Tri. His show was one of the highlights of my trip to New York Fashion Week.

His designs swept the runway with grace and feminity. To enhance the individually distinctive materials, the silhouettes were draped and formed to create a contemporary narrative of modern femininity.

In addition to using the traditional essence of Vietnamese textiles including “Lanh My A silk” (a renowned silk whose black is dyed by Diospyros Mollis fruit) and world heritage fabrics such as tweed and velvet, the designer has woven more contemporary materials like metallic organza, 3D woven jacquard and holographic rayon into his collection.

From a light pink floor-length gown that had ruffle sleeves that ended at the wrist. The beading, the fur, the color brought one to a time where you will dress up in your fancy aunt clothes.

We all remember when belting was the trend. Well, he moves that scarf up from your waist and drapes it over your chest. Have it flow behind you, like you are the starlet in your own black and white film. This gown could have been a simple black ballgown, but why be simple. Adding a piece of fabric to give an extra ounce of elegance is something we wanted with this dress but didn’t know we needed.

Just when I thought I had pinned down Cong Tri as a designer, with his pastel color palette, he surprised me with splashes of yellow.

His enormously crafted bows, pleated fabric, 3D-cut light refracting beads interlaced with a neutral metallic color palette reminds you that every woman always wants a garment that has something that pops.

Cong Tri is a modern feminist designer.