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  • Writer's picturetanaka simonsen

A Tale of Elegance and Extravagance

Kitty Le, she/her

In the ever-evolving world of fashion, there are artists who effortlessly capture the essence of haute couture, infusing their creations with a touch of magic and individuality. One such artist is Kitty Le, a Naarm-based freelance fashion stylist whose creative journey has been a testament to embracing one's true passion and identity. In this exclusive interview, Kitty takes us through her inspirations, challenges, and the liberating power of self-expression.

Finding Passion and Identity

Kitty's love for fashion has always been an inherent part of her being. Kitty shares, "I have always been interested in fashion – cliché – I know. I always knew I was creative, but being a child of immigrant parents, I never took my own creative passions seriously.” After years of suppressing her creative inclinations, she took a leap of faith and enrolled in a Diploma of Fashion Styling at RMIT, a decision that would shape her career path.

“I was approaching the end of my business degree and felt this immense existential emptiness. So, out of the blue - for the first time in my life, I took a chance on myself”

With honesty and determination, Kitty embraced her true self, realizing her capabilities and setting her sights on a future defined by creative expression.

Navigating Identity and Inclusion

Growing up as a person of color in Australia presented its own set of challenges for Kitty.

“I came to Australia when I was 5 from Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City. I didn’t speak a lick of English until I was 9. I remember sitting in class on the first day of primary school nodding along as this white woman spouted a language I didn’t understand. I was a severely shy kid, so incredibly and viscerally insecure. I would get full body shakes every time the teacher would ask me to speak in class.

I saw the way my parents were treated for having an accent and not knowing the language, the micro-aggressive tones and the little jabs here and there. I was a kid but I knew what was going on. It doubled down on my insecurity, during my formative years I was too afraid to speak for fear that people would make fun of my accent or make fun of my broken English. I was always the “quiet kid”.

For as long as I could remember I worked on disguising my difference, I operated from a place of lack and a deep, deep self-hatred for a long time. I don’t anymore. It’s nice.”

However, she has found solace and support within the vibrant BIPOC creative community, offering a sense of belonging and understanding. While recognition within the Australian art industry can still be an uphill battle for POC artists, Kitty remains grateful for the opportunities and collaborations she has experienced thus far. Reflecting on her journey, Kitty states, "I am incredibly grateful that there is such a strong and endlessly supportive BIPOC creative community. I don’t have to go through this journey alone – it’s comforting."

Kitty acknowledges that she is still in the early stages of her fashion journey and hasn't fully dedicated herself to gaining recognition.

However, she has had the opportunity to collaborate with numerous POC artists who have shared their struggles with breaking into the Australian market. Many have ultimately decided to explore opportunities overseas in pursuit of greater visibility and opportunities.

Currently, Kitty's primary goal is to establish her name within creative niches, focusing on building a reputation among like-minded individuals and communities. She recognizes that reaching a mainstream audience requires a different approach—one that she has yet to delve into. Nonetheless, she remains immensely grateful for the support and interest she has received, cherishing the fact that people are drawn to her work and eager to collaborate.

With an unwavering passion and a growing network of creative connections, Kitty continues to carve her path, navigating the intricacies of the industry while embracing the unique opportunities that come her way.

A Global Tapestry of Inspiration

As an artist, Kitty draws inspiration from the international fashion scene and celebrates the growing recognition of Vietnamese brands and designers. She finds encouragement in the vibrant creativity and innovation emanating from Asia, particularly in countries like Korea, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The global recognition of Vietnamese talent, exemplified by the success of Fanci Club, fills her with excitement and a sense of pride in her heritage.

"The conversations I have and the relationships I build are my inspiration. On some days, this job can be really hard, but I keep going because I get to meet awesome people all the time."

The Creative Process Unveiled:

For Kitty, the creative process is a meticulous journey that involves extensive research and inspiration-gathering. She immerses herself in the digital realm, scrolling through Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok, saving ideas and concepts that resonate with her.

"Research – a lot of research. Scrolling – so much scrolling. Hours and hours and hours and hours. I save the things I like to refer back to them."

She also finds solace and inspiration in books, stating, "Books are good too when I need a break from the screen." Kitty recognizes the importance of taking breaks and finding alternative sources of inspiration beyond the digital realm.

"Oh – and strangely – meditation. My creativity is kindred to my spirituality. Sometimes if the ideas aren't flowing, I'll sit on it and then I'm reassured." She finds a deep connection between her creativity and her spirituality, using meditation as a means to find clarity and guidance during moments of creative block.

Artistic Exploration and Feminine Sensuality

When asked to describe her artistic style and the themes she often explores in her work, Kitty humbly admits, "I don't know really. Maybe you can answer that for me. I can't really put a name to it. If it looks good (to me), I like it."

However, amidst this humble uncertainty, Kitty delves into the depths of her creative process and reveals the underlying themes that emerge organically. She explains, "I often find myself drawn to the idea of 'release.' In my regular 9-5, the structure can be quite rigid, but in my art, I am truly free. I can unleash my playfulness, work with vibrant colors and funky textures, and revel in the joy of being bold and unapologetic."

As her artistic journey unfolds, Kitty finds herself venturing into bolder expressions of feminine sensuality. With a deep appreciation for women, she expresses her desire for her art to evolve alongside her exploration and growth in gender expression.

"It's exciting to witness the fashion industry becoming more androgynous and fluid, providing more room for creativity and self-expression."

While Kitty may struggle to define her artistic style with a single label, her work exudes a sense of liberation, fearlessness, and an unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries. Through her art, she aspires to create a space where societal norms are challenged, inspiring others to embrace their true selves. With each creation, Kitty contributes to the growing movement that redefines fashion, making it more inclusive, diverse, and open to the exploration of individuality.

“A dream career isn’t a dream life. I want to be in a place where I can create without having to think about the potential monetary gains my art brings.”

Conveying Freedom and Euphoria

Through her art, Kitty aspires to convey a profound sense of freedom and euphoria. Her creations are an invitation to experience a transcendent state of being, where limitations fade away and pure joy takes center stage.

Like any artist, Kitty faces moments of creative block and self-doubt. However, she finds solace in the connections she forges with passionate and talented individuals, recognizing that the journey itself holds immeasurable value.

She confides, "The ability to meet awesome, driven, and talented people gets me motivated. They say it’s about the journey and not the destination. I am in love with the process."

“Oh – and I think about having to sit in a grey office for 8 hours a day for the next 40 years and then my creative block goes away.”

A Glimpse of Kitty’s pieces

"Ginko," a captivating photo she shot in collaboration with her dear friend and frequent creative partner, Phuong Le. Kitty reveals that they initially had another red dress planned for the shoot, but fate intervened, and the dress featured in the photo became a stunning backup choice. She enthusiastically describes the photo, saying, "What else can I say? It's a beautiful photo. Ginko is so beautiful." She appreciates how everything came together harmoniously—the dress, the editing, the gentle touch on the model's face, and her pose. Kitty takes pride in paying homage to Asian beauty and emphasizes their success in capturing it without falling into the trap of inauthentic or "oriental" representations.

"Mancie," a shoot that holds a special place in her heart due to the collaborative efforts of four talented POC creatives from Melbourne. Kitty highlights the candid conversations that took place during the project, which resulted in fruitful artistic outcomes. This project serves as a testament to the power of unity and collective creativity.

“I hope people feel a sense of immense liberation and euphoria when they see my art."

"Dressing Dance" by Christina Mae. This particular project stands out to her because it presented a fresh perspective on showcasing the female body. The experience of working with an incredible team on set is what truly stuck with her. “The shots were sensual, gritty and reverant”. Additionally, this project marked Kitty's first venture into creative directing, adding an extra layer of fulfillment and excitement to the overall experience.

As Kitty's creative journey unfolds, her dream career encompasses styling for a major publication.

Advice for Aspiring POC Artists:

To young POC artists embarking on their creative careers, Kitty imparts valuable wisdom garnered from her own experiences. She emphasises, "Serve your niche. Be genuine and be kind. Produce, produce, produce. The more you produce, the more you will discover your sensibilities, your style, your signature."

Join Kitty Le on her mesmerizing artistic journey as she weaves a tapestry of fashion, diversity, and self-expression. Stay updated with her upcoming projects, including fashion stories and collaborations, and support her artistic endeavors by following her on Instagram (@kittyle_stylist) and exploring her work on her website ( Prepare to be captivated by the sheer brilliance and audacity of her creations—a celebration of freedom and the limitless power of personal style.

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