Colours of Vietnam invigorate the art of Spanish fashion

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 March, 2009, 12:00am

Is Sofia Gaspar expanding from Spanish art to fashion? Sort of. Instead of just bringing over another traditional paint-and-canvas artisan, this week she's introducing to Hong Kong the colourful dresses of artistic design label Chula, started by the husband-and-wife team of Diego Cortizas and Laura Fontan (pictured). Only, Fontan isn't coming over from Madrid or Barcelona. The couple are based in Hanoi, Vietnam.

'We were taking a year off to travel to Asia. We had previously lived in South America and Africa, but never been to Asia before,' Fontan said. Cortizas is staying home with their kids - and Fontan is actually three months pregnant with number three. Excited about Vietnam's colours and fine silk, she started turning them into dresses. 'Then, many of my friends asked me where I bought it. I said I made it and they went: 'It is so cute, can we buy it from you?' This is how the business started.'

Now, her prints and patterned dresses are sold in two shops in Vietnam as well as back home in Madrid.

Fontan is hoping their label can make a mark here, too. She will be presenting two shows of their designs, at 2pm today and 1pm on Friday. The Sophia Gaspar Spanish Contemporary Art Gallery is at Unit 8B, Time Centre, 53-55 Hollywood Road.