Archive for the ‘Luang Prabang’ Category

I don’t know how to start this tale about my last trip to Luang Prabang (Laos) ? How will i ever be able to translate all the magic of that city ? Imagine a little peninsula surround by a stream (Mekhong) and a river (Nam Khan). Covered with luxuriant nature. With temples at every corners and monks walking like ghost at dawn. If i was only listening to me, this post will end-up way too long and covering way too many subjects. So since i mostly write about fashion, design, textilles and… Let’s talk about a young girl i met there. 


Ta Dam is her nickname (More easy for falang to pronounce) She lives and work in a little house on the opposite bank of the Nam Khan river. In front of her house which is also a ”boutique” there is some ”weaving mills” (not sure i’am using the good term for that ?) , where she works calmly, in open air, kissed by the sun that peak through the palm tree leafs, with members from her family and freinds. So every time your passing by her place, you ear the slow rythim of the mills, chit chat and giggles, the songs of the insects hidden in the green surrounding… A certain serenity long lost in our occidental cities.

 I discuss a lot with her (since i splurge myself a little too much with her silk scarfs). And even if she is really happy about her little ”cottage industry” and the fact that she is taking some expansion and need to hire more people because of her second store opening on the peninsula soon. She says that lao handycrafts are in fact threatened. The increasing number of tourist passing by this city since the country opened his door to the rest of the world in (i think) 1999 have a side effect. The local craftmens and store owners, find it faster, easier, cheaper… to buy already made products from Thailand, Vietnam and China to sell them at the market or in the stores. Like us, they’re attracted by easy money and the main category of tourist passing there (backpackers) just don’t help with their always present desire to live, buy, eat, drink cheap !!! In fact, as i alraedy lived there before, i could judged it with my own eyes, they just don’t want to pay ! The gouvernement don’t really bother with that either since he have many things to deal with already (developing country remember ?) I was sad to ear that. What would happened with all that knowledge ? That amazing craftmanship ? That small country and the people living there, will then just be swallowed by the bigger, more advance, powerfull… countries surrounding them ? Will their culture be forgoten ? So please, if you ever pass by this city, encourage local craftmens !!!



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Once upon a time, there was a young and idealistic canadian designer (not sure i can still use the word young anymore ?) that by a twisted play of circumstances, end up becoming a ”Fashion missionary” in Laos. What he tough would be an amazing chance to discover a new country and culture and the endlest creative possibilities is wild imagination was seing in lao traditionnal costume (in other words, a dream come true) All that turn into a nightmare when ne realised the he was in fact enslaved by the ”Evil witch of the peninsula of Luang Prabang” Locked in the atelier 6 1/2 days on 7 without the opportunity to enjoy the sun. Locked in with seamstress that spoke english like he spoke lao… Even the ”nuits d’ivresses” spended with the few friends he manage to met throug the particular comunity (to not use another term) of expatriated peoples living there and… Could not cheer him up and make him forget that he was designing garments for retard hippies. He felt lonely ! Then he met a prince (literally !!!) It was love at first sight ! He tought he had found a partner, a friend and a lover wrap into one. They where artistically really connected and really understood each other on the subject of creation (it was the only one in fact). They decided to create a collection together and builted castel in spain. The young fellow designed pieces inspired by true love (sarcasm) and the prince did gold thread embrodery on them.It should have been a match in heaven… But they’re now still perfect for each other in the world appart together. The collection is now roaming free too in the company of the ”Prince of Theifs”. 


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