Last week, the fashion magazine Vogue spotlighted the inaugural collection from up-and-coming Vietnamese-American womenswear designer Bach Mai, calling him “an American couturier in the making.” In the feature by runway director Nicole Phelps, the blue-haired 32-year-old talks about his experience in the industry as well as some of the artistic inspiration behind his works.
Mai was born and raised in Houston, Texas to Vietnamese immigrant parents, whom he describes as supportive of his non-traditional career choice. As a teenager, Mai discovered his passion for fashion and started making clothes for his friends. In addition to obtaining his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at New York City’s Parsons School of Design and Paris’s Institut Français de la Mode, respectively, Mai’s fashion experience includes stints at the likes of Oscar de la Renta, John Galliano, Prabal Gurung, and Maison Margiela.
Today, Mai has launched a namesake label — supplied by prestigious French textile supplier Hurel, no less. The Vogue article spotlights a selection of standout pieces from his made-to-order collection, which draws an eclectic set of inspirations ranging from classic Margiela silhouettes to the works of artist Cy Twombly and the photography of Richard Avedon.
Beyond the inaugural Spring / Summer 2022 collection, Mai is offering a few select ready-to-wear pieces, including a sculpted back bomber, bias shift dresses, and blush sequin bodysuit. The clothes are entirely made in New York and are now available by pre-order on the brand’s website.
“We do have the know-how here, the craftsmanship,” Mai tells Vogue. “To help keep that alive and to build that back up is beautiful.” It’s clear Bach Mai is not only advancing Vietnamese-American representation in the global fashion industry, but also embodying new, much-needed force of creativity in couture.