Sống was one of the few local designers I truly loved. To call her “local” might be inaccurate but then, Valerie Gregori McKenzie and her brand have been here in Vietnam for as long as twenty years, and Sống was born inspired by the crafting traditions in the country, stitchwork in particular. Since the opening of its charming corner shop looking right to St. Joseph’s Cathedral on the little street named after the building’s function in this Old Quarter in Hanoi, Sống had stayed true to its aesthetics and business ethos: casual but sophisticated, eco-lifestyle and artisan-supportive. In a market where there was so much to see and yet little to adore, Sống stayed low-key but really stood out with no equivalents. Valerie Gregori McKenzie herself might not like this, but when I saw Isabel Marant’s models stomping down the runway in her much-loved bohemian Spring Summer 2014 collection, I thought to myself, “Oh God, we don’t have to envy them of Marant, we’ve got our own Isabel Marant right here in Vietnam!”.
Isn’t it strange when you feel sad that someone or something with no relation to you is leaving? When we visited the shop again earlier this week, Sống was already packing, and I realized it was really the end of a beautiful journey.
A beautiful journey, by Sống...