L’ARLÉSIENNE – The Girl from the Dream

The Vietnam Art Museum in Hanoi recently hosted the unveiling of a captivating handmade fashion handbag titled “L’ARLÉSĪENNE – The Girl from the Dream or The Girl from Arles.” This event featured a unique combination of painting and fashion, showcasing the artistic creativity behind the handbag’s impressive design.

A Vietnamese high school student studying in the United States has successfully brought together the entire process of ideation, design, production, and sales of a unique line of bags. With a passion for art and painting, this student has skillfully incorporated these elements into the creation of fashion accessories.

Meet Dinh Phuc Khang, a 17-year-old high school student studying in the US. Khang is the talented Founder and Creative Director of the L’ARLÉSĪENNE brand.

Khang, born in a family with a construction engineer father and a lawyer mother in Hanoi, developed a deep passion for painting and fashion design from a young age. His interest in design intensified when he began studying abroad in the US in grade 9. The school environment provided the perfect outlet for Khang to showcase his talent and further fuel his artistic passion.

At the brand launch event, Khang was visibly emotional as his first startup became a reality. Reflecting on the pursuit and realization of a dream, Khang decided to name his handbag brand “L’ARLÉSĪENNE”, meaning “The girl from the dream”. The name holds multiple meanings, evoking the concept of something that is anticipated but never fully materializes – perhaps akin to a dream that everyone seeks to capture.

“Art is a passion that ignites within me, continuously growing in intensity. I aspire to share my ideas and art with a wider audience, not confining it to a select few. This led me to embark on a journey of infusing painting art into the realm of fashion manufacturing. After years of careful cultivation, L’ARLÉSĪENNE – ‘The girl from the dream’ finally made its debut to the world during Christmas 2022,” expressed Khang.

Phuc Khang emphasized that fashion, unlike other art forms, boasts exceptional practicality, appealing to everyone. This principle has given rise to the creation of L’ARLÉSĪENNE, an endeavor aimed at crafting bespoke Vietnamese handbags for fashion-conscious individuals seeking to convey their unique personality and style through affordable everyday fashion accessories.

“I believe that equality encompasses more than just physical attributes such as skin color, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. In today’s world, equality also extends to the accessibility of luxurious artistic goods at affordable prices. Through its exceptional craftsmanship, L’ARLÉSĪENNE aims to provide individuals with the opportunity to appreciate art while expressing their unique personalities. In essence, the L’ARLÉSĪENNE bag you carry serves as a means for others to authentically perceive and define you,” stated Khang.

Challenging to Locate Product Manufacturer

Khang stated that while designing bags, he had the fortunate opportunity to acquire knowledge and expertise in genuine leather production from renowned artisans in Vietnam. This included his interactions with Uncle Luan, a great-grandchild of the esteemed artisan Ninh Ky. Notably, Uncle Luan was awarded the Certificate of Leather Artisan by the Indochina government in 1919.

During the production phase, several handmade leather goods manufacturers declined to collaborate due to the product’s intricate nature and the stringent quality requirements.

Khang faced a significant challenge when numerous manufacturers declined his order, citing their inability to handle orders with high levels of difficulty and complexity. This was due to the extensive range of leather combinations involved, which included genuine cowhide and whole crocodile skin, each dyed in various individual colors. The order also required the inclusion of accessories such as metal buckles, stainless steel corner seals, and CNC-cut wooden boxes. Furthermore, the bags for L’ARLÉSIENNE featured painting applications with color prints on real leather, which posed additional difficulties. Additionally, Khang faced resistance due to the relatively small quantity of his order.

Despite facing numerous challenges, Khang made the brave decision to persevere. His goal was to develop a unique product that would encompass individual language and expression, a rare feat in our modern society. By going beyond the creation of mass-produced items, L’ARLÉSĪENNE truly becomes a symbol of an extraordinary dream.

After an extensive search and negotiations spanning several months, Khang has successfully secured a manufacturing partner for his orders. The owner of the leather workshop was genuinely impressed by the new product line, and wholeheartedly committed to supporting the entrepreneurial dream of young individuals.

“Mr. Ha, the owner of the handmade leather processing workshop, shares his impressions of working with Khang. He was immediately captivated by Khang’s unwavering passion for fashion and relentless determination. In order to fulfill Khang’s vision, the team embarked on a journey of innovation, constantly pushing the boundaries of production technology and methods to meet new requirements. Being someone who thrives on challenges and embraces novelty, Mr. Ha wholeheartedly accepted Khang’s orders.”

The L’ARLÉSIENNE collection presents its latest line of products, which includes four exceptional bag models: MATTACHÉ, ATTOSAC, WONDERLAND TOTE, and POCHETTE. These exclusive designs were meticulously crafted and are now available as part of our exquisite summer 2022 collection.

“In the THANATOLOGY collection, I meticulously crafted the MATTACHÉ and ATTOSAC bags to encapsulate the unique personalities and styles of their owners. Complementing them, the WONDERLAND TOTE and POCHETTE models serve as indispensable accessories for professionals, providing ample storage space for everyday essentials like laptops, documents, and pens,” expressed Khang.

The bags are crafted with the utmost quality, using 100% full cowhide or whole crocodile skin as the main material. Our imported materials are carefully treated, tanned, and dyed to achieve their own distinct and exclusive colors.

L’ARLÉSIENNE is available in four beautiful shades: Greenerie Green, Dark Periwinkle Purple, Hellfire Red, and Black. The main brand colors of L’ARLÉSIENNE are Hellfire Red, a vibrant red with a touch of purple, and Dark Periwinkle Purple, a deep shade of purple. The red color represents intense passion, while the blue-violet color embodies coldness and nobility.

“I have long harbored a passion for seamlessly integrating the art of applied painting into the realm of fashion. As a testament to this artistic endeavor, L’ARLÉSĪENNE’s collection of leather bags showcases exquisite hand-painted textures, including the remarkable Wonderland Tote, Attosac, and Pochette. Drawing inspiration from my previous explorations with Eye and Lip textures while creating cubist portraits, I have adopted a distinct style that seeks to imbue everyday observations with an emotional abstraction.” – Khang expressed.

The dream of a Vietnamese handbag brand making its mark in the fashion capital.

L’ARLÉSIENNE products were unveiled at the esteemed Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, accompanied by a captivating blend of live rock music and a stunning catwalk display. This pioneering event showcased the debut collection of L’ARLÉSIENNE, featuring 94 beautifully crafted bags. It marked an unprecedented fusion of art, fashion, and music, as the catwalk models strutted their stuff to the electrifying sound of rock music, setting the stage for an unforgettable experience for all in attendance.

Mr. Duy Nguyen, Art Manager, renowned for his collaborations with prominent Vietnamese fashion brands like Tracy and Helen Hoai, recounts his encounter with Khang in June 2021. At the time, Khang had returned to Vietnam from the US amid the Covid-19 pandemic and was undergoing mandatory isolation at military barracks E58.

“I was pleasantly impressed by Khang’s extensive knowledge of global fashion brands. His comprehensive understanding covers over 30 renowned fashion labels. Upon hearing Khang’s proposal, I readily agreed to support him. Today, I am delighted to witness the unveiling of Khang’s exquisite products. I sincerely wish him continued triumph on his remarkable journey,” expressed Stylist Duy Nguyen.

The debut event was also attended by influential individuals including Editor-MC Mai Ngoc (my older sister), Miss Vietnam 2010 Ngoc Han, and MC Quynh Hoa.

MC Mai Ngoc (Khang’s older sister) was impressed by Khang’s passion and enthusiasm for his startup project. She recalled that when she was Khang’s age, her only concern was asking her mother for money every day for breakfast. In contrast, Khang has already developed ideas, raised capital, organized production, managed marketing, sales, and events, showcasing his ability to independently create a stylish and fashionable handbag. This level of initiative and accomplishment is not commonly found among young people.

“The newly launched products are truly remarkable, and the W by Mai Ngoc fashion brand will serve as an exclusive distributor for all L’ARLÉSĪENNE products. Individuals who are interested can visit the W by Mai Ngoc store located at 56 Tran Nhan Tong, Hanoi, to personally experience the luxurious L’ARLÉSĪENNE leather bags. Alternatively, they can also explore and shop online through the official website at https://larlesienne.world/. MC Mai Ngoc shared these details.”

Miss Vietnam 2010, Ngoc Han, expressed her admiration for the bags showcased and introduced today, noting their soulful and meaningful nature. She also praised their delicate and meticulous craftsmanship, emphasizing that each bag, color, and drawing contains a unique story. Furthermore, she highlighted the fact that these products were created by a high school student, which she found very impressive. Miss Vietnam extended her well wishes and sincere hopes for Khang’s success in establishing L’ARLÉSĪENNE as a new and distinctive fashion bag brand.

During the event, the angel investor who committed to providing capital to Khang from the initial contact expressed, “I decided to invest in this venture due to the persuasive nature of the project. Moreover, I would like to encourage young individuals to dream and have the determination to pursue those dreams. Have the confidence to venture into the world to establish your presence. Success can only be achieved when one possesses confidence, originality, and the courage to make commitments.”

Expressing his heartfelt gratitude towards the individuals who guided and accompanied him during the launch event, Khang emotionally stated, “I am truly amazed that a dream that felt so distant has now become a reality. Ultimately, that girl from Arles has finally arrived.”

In order to bring this dream to life, it has required the collaboration of numerous individuals behind the scenes. Special thanks to Duy Nguyen, the fashion teacher who provided invaluable knowledge and guidance, as well as the director of the first L’ARLÉSĪENNE runway. Additionally, we extend our gratitude to the skilled leather artisans and manufacturers who have contributed to the creation of L’ARLÉSĪENNE. We would also like to acknowledge the distributors who played a role in the design process, as well as our dedicated distributor (W by Mai Ngoc) and the angel investors who have supported L’ARLÉSĪENNE.

Our most valued customers are those who have been with L’ARLÉSĪENNE since its inception, and they will continue to be the ones who appreciate and embrace our artistic fashion world.

Launching a new product requires careful evaluation and consideration of its potential reception in the market. L’ARLÉSĪENNE, a start-up project that uniquely blends the art of painting with fashion production, is a remarkable example. Developed over an extensive period of almost two years by a talented 17-year-old boy, this initiative deserves commendation and support.