Diplomacy Meets Runway in US Embassy-Backed Fashion Show on Lao Traditional Clothing

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Diplomacy Meets Runway in US Embassy-Backed Fashion Show on Lao Traditional Clothing
The US Chargée d'affaires Michelle Y. Outlaw along with the Lao modals performing a parade at the runway

Against the canvas of a vivid mural crafted by local Lao artists, Saturday evening unfolded as a testament to the power of Lao fashion in bridging cultures. The United States (US) Embassy and SANE’ Fashion staged a fashion show on 16 December at the American Center in Vientiane Capital to promote traditional Lao textiles and clothes through models and celebrities.

The ambiance was alive with anticipation as embassy officials, models, and celebrities, including Payengxa Lor, Miss Universe Laos 2022, gathered in a display of unity between tradition and modernity. The runway showcased Lao traditional garments in a variety of colors and textures that echoed the rich heritage of the nation.

Chargée d’affaires Michelle Y. Outlaw, gives an opening speech on stage at the Fashion Show

The event officially opened with a speech by US Chargée d’affaires Michelle Y. Outlaw, who assumed her role in September.

“It is an opportunity for us to show clearly that one of our priorities here is supporting the creativity of artists here in Laos in a variety of fields and also helping to preserve cultural aspects here.”

Expressing optimism for the future, Outlaw shared, “This being the first time the US Embassy has held a fashion show, I hope for future opportunities to expand and organize additional events of a similar nature.” Her words carried the promise of continued collaborations that would weave the threads of cultural understanding ever tighter.

Two Lao models are wearing traditional clothes and hairstyle.

As the evening kicked off, the runway transformed into a stage for cultural storytelling, accompanied by the melodies of traditional Lao music. ‘Fon’ dancers wove tales with their movements, a parade unveiled the essence of Lao craftsmanship, and the modeling segment took center stage, featuring not only seasoned professionals but also the presence of the Chargée d’affaires herself.

In a moment that transcended diplomatic norms, the Chargée d’affaires embraced the runway, donning Lao traditional attire. Her participation added a personal touch to the event, symbolizing an exchange between nations through the language of fashion.

Post-performance, the models, including 24-year-old Thidachanh Visisombaht, Miss Lao 2021, radiated joy.

“The most important part for me is when we had the fashion show with all of my friends here because it allowed us to showcase Lao culture, traditions, and religions to everyone,” Thidachanh said.

The model also expressed her eagerness to participate in the embassy’s future events, saying that she would embrace the opportunity if they extended an invitation to her.

The event not only served as a fashion spectacle but also as a testament to the enduring bond between the US Embassy and Laos, paving the way for more collaborative ventures in the future.