CHICAGOAsians and Friends Chicago would like to recognize and salute long-time member and supporter, fashion designer Kevin Vong, who created and will debut a dress made from 10,000 single puffs of popcorn, each individually glued on over the course of an entire month.
The dress design, which blends his Laotian roots with the glamor of a 1940s and '50's ball gown is the centerpiece of AFC's "Gayflower" float, a high-masted ship that is set to sail as entry No. 19 in this year's Chicago Gay Pride Parade.
Vong, whose designs have been seen in national soap operas and beauty pageants, is currently working in the fashion department of Columbia College. Each year, he strives to create an eye-popping gown for the viewing pleasure of Pride audiences. In years past, he's attracted attention with gowns made from plastic grocery bags and from the covers of fashion magazines.
"Each year I try to top myself and use materials that no one would think of using," the Chicago-based designer says.
A part of the diverse, gay, Asian community here in Chicago, Vong contributes to the melting pot of an increasingly formidable constituency. He and his partner John were legally wed last year in a local ceremony and support gay marriage on a state and national level.
"People tend to dismiss the extravagant expressions of our GLBT community as fluff," says Angel Abcede, president of Asians and Friends Chicago's Board of Directors. "But this dress is visually staggering and in a world that sees images from around the world via smartphones and tablets, it takes artistry, imagination and sheer determination to stand out. We applaud Kevin for his work and continue to value him as a member of Asians and Friends Chicago."
Abcede will be wearing a "sister" dress made from corn husks that Vong also designed.
Vong's dress made its debut at a private function in mid-June and after the Pride Parade will make appearances throughout the year at various AFC and other local functions. For more information, contact Angel Abcede at (773) 459-6775.