LỰU ĐẠN, a new menswear label from Kwaidan Edition’s, Hung La — Global Debut
Designer Hung La, one of the co-founders of the luxury womenswear label Kwaidan Editions and an alumnus of Céline under Phoebe Philo and Balenciaga under Nicolas Ghesquière, presents a new designer menswear label, LỰU ĐẠN. The debut collection consisting of 26 looks is releasing exclusively on January 28th, 2022 at 10AM EST in partnership with global technology platform, SSENSE.
“LỰU ĐẠN”, taken from La’s native tongue of Vietnamese, comes from the words for “Pomegranate” and “Bullet”, combining to make the colloquial term for a “Dangerous Man”.
Photos : Jimi Franklin
Autobiographical by nature, La expounds upon his personal narrative of being a first-generation Asian-American growing up in the suburbs of Maryland, and experiences that prompted a rejection of his cultural identity. Without Asian role models or public figures to look up to, La, like many others, found himself acting out in his teenage years, wading in a pool of shame that was nameless, spilt over from generations past. Opting to create distance between his personhood and lineage through defiant assimilation, it wasn’t until age 21, shortly after living in London, that La was forced to deal with his “hungry ghosts” (addiction), which later lead to an awakening, discovering self-acceptance and a newfound spirituality. At the time, he started following the teachings of the late Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Thích Nhất Hạnh, and began meditating and practicing Buddhism. These practices engendered a feeling of connection to La’s ancestors and fostered a sense of home and peace that enabled him to start to see a “we” in Asian identity. “There is so much beauty to my story, to your story, to all Asian stories. All of these stories need to be told in a meaningful way,” he reflects, noting his belief that these narratives are the most successful vehicles for change.
The LỰU ĐẠN man is multidimensional; a shady figure with a hard-shelled exterior, beguiling sex appeal and sly demeanor. There are also touches of a deeper emotional intelligence; a blurring of the traditionally masculine and feminine that reveals a depth to his character, further underscoring his rebellious nature. Asian men are rarely centred as desirable in the minds of the masses, but in today’s world, that is starting to change. Through increased visibility, a defiance of stereotypes, and an awareness that the “bamboo ceiling” can only be shattered by those it limits, this project aims to build a community with affinity and aesthetics as the connecting threads, forging the backbone of a new kind of masculinity.
The first collection is expressive and explosive, and as masculinity wrestles with itself, we are presented with a space in which men are permitted to be vulnerable and demanded to be empathetic. With clashing textures that pair fake leather with felted Scottish tartan wool, unapologetically vibrant color palettes that invite pink hues to dance upon earthy camouflages, and floral prints taken from canvases painted by La’s grandmother, LỰU ĐẠN’s visual language is a reflection on the depths of Asian identity against the grain of Western influence. Traditional Bantan trousers worn by Bōsōzoku gangs in Japan hang low on hips; double-bodied snakes replace swords as the brand’s code of arms; jaguars prowl over and upon printed denim. Silhouettes oscillate between sleazy, fitted tailoring and baggy, gangster-like flares; a celebration of clothing as a tool to represent something deeper; worn by individuals who push at the boundaries of what it means to be an Asian male – solely through their existence.
These are emotional subjects for La; he likens LỰU ĐẠN to a lotus flower: entrenched in dark, muddy water, its roots undulating and convoluted; but beautiful, with petals unfurling towards an open sky.
Be on the lookout for the second drop of Collection 1 in February 2022. Prices range from 125 CAD – 1500 CAD.
ABOUT LỰU ĐẠN
Designer menswear label, LỰU ĐẠN is the debut collection of Hung La, co-founder of luxury label Kwaidan Editions. Referring to a Dangerous Man in Vietnamese, LỰU ĐẠN is a collectively realized dream anchored by the shared experiences of Asian men, unfettered by one-dimensional tropes and expectation. Yielding new depth and unalloyed visibility for Asian masculinity, the LỰU ĐẠN man embraces his heritage and finds pride in his identity in a way that feels defiant and provocative. He uses his voice to build bridges between the interiority of his world and the larger, global community and encourages others to do the same. Utilizing rich, sonorous color palettes, reminiscent prints and silhouettes that evoke tribute by breathing modernity into tradition, LỰU ĐẠN traces stitches back to lineage. Aesthetics become linguistic and LỰU ĐẠN becomes an exemplary brand that pushes fashion’s boundaries, becoming solely defined by those whose backs it adorns. @luudan_official | luu-dan.com
ABOUT HUNG LA
Hung La is a first generation Vietnamese American living in London. His pursuit of fashion design led him to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Upon graduating, La landed a role at Balenciaga under Nicolas Ghesquière. Later on, La joined Phoebe Philo at Céline. In 2016, La and his partner, Léa Dickely founded the luxury womenswear label, Kwaidan Editions.